Old Parks College, Cahokia, Illinois


A reader sent me some fascinating shots of the now-abandoned Parks College in Cahokia.  It seems to have been completely given over to nature, with little interest shown to cleaning up the site.  I suppose it wasn’t the concern of the owners.  All photos courtesy of www.neweyedea.com.  Thanks again for providing an example of relatively new ruins.


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  1. The old campus was owned by St. Louis University who donated it to the village of Cahokia when they merged campuses in 1996

  2. My father worked for Parks until the closing of the college in ’96. I had so many good memories of going on campus to visit him for lunch when I was little. I lived in Cahokia until 2007 and SLU had tried to sell if for about 10 years before handing it over to the village. It really makes me sad to see it like this. I’ve wanted to go over and take pics for a while, but was worried about how often the city watches the property.

    • When we took pictures there was a cop sitting in the parking lot. There are no ‘no trespassing’ signs but he asked us not to go inside for safety reasons. We walked around for awhile then he came back to find us and offered to take us in one building (in the pictures) after asking if we were media and what the pictures were for.

      The nearby fitness center reports parked cars to the police…

      One building has been bought and converted to a grill or pizza parlor or something. You could probably park there.

      Because the buildings are stripped of valuables the police said they usually only find former students walking around.

      If you do walk around the outside of the buildings just keep an eye out for poison oak and some very large spiders. Ick.

  3. Cool photos. For what it’s worth, Parks still does flight and maintenance training in Cahokia and those students have to commute across the river. That said, the new facility in Midtown is much nicer, although it is being outgrown despite being about twenty years old. (Odd note: McDonnell Douglas Hall where Parks College is currently housed has two separated basements. Supposedly it straddles a large sewer line.)

  4. As a student, I worked at the library. Seeing the door to that building was a real flashback. The dorms have been overtaken by the Ivy. And I can’t believe stooges is still there.

  5. I graduated from here in 1975. Had not seen the place again until 2006 when I stopped on a drive to Colorado from Pennsylvania. I had a lot of good memories of my four years here. I lived in both Mercury Hall and later in Halloran Hall. I still remember Prof Harold Wood and his always mentioning how he was personally acquainted with Grover Loening. I spent many idle hours in the library in the evenings. We even had a radio station in the building just across from Mercury Hall. It had an FCC license and call letters: WPKS. I ran the board many evenings, dragging my record collection over to play over the air to fellow students who might be listening.

    It is so sad to see what the place is like now. All we have left of fellow students and teachers and the mess hall and the library and the chapel are the memories now. Eventually what is left will all be gone, much like all of life I guess.

  6. I graduated in 1971 with a BS in aerospace Engineering. Proud to say that as a result of the education I received at Parks College I have had a very successful career in engineering (now retired). In 2004 I was in St. Louis and visited the Cahokia campus. The school grounds appeared run down, smaller than I remembered, but brought back memories. The local police watched as I walked around the school. I can’t believe it’s been so long. I think about the old school now and then…great memories!!!

    • Does anyone know who I could contact about getting permission to use the property for a quick photoshoot? I’m from out of state looking for a unique place for a model shoot this coming April around St. Louis.

  7. My father graduated from Parks in the early 50’s. Went on to be a naval aviator and was killed flying a F4 Navy fighter jet in ’64. Would appreciate knowing where I could access some pictures of the campus back during his time at school so I can show my aging mother. I have vague recollections of the campus from my early childhood. I seem to remember tall trees and low brick buildings. Thanks.

  8. I remember Mr Carter (…you cannot win …but you might come even…) and
    Mr Dowland (?)…. also Joe Rezetco …. he taught me how to fly….great memories from 1980’s….. I got my BS in Aircraft maintenance…..

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