Old Parks College, Cahokia, Illinois

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Update: The property is now owned by the City of Cahokia, Illinois, not Saint Louis University. A reader provided additional photographs of Parks College in March of 2018. As of May 6, 2021, Cahokia was merged with Centreville and Caseyville to create the new city of Cahokia Heights. The future of the former Parks College campus remains in limbo.

A reader sent me some fascinating shots of the now-abandoned Parks College in Cahokia. All photos courtesy of www.neweyedea.com (Update: link seems to be dead). Thanks again for providing an example of relatively new ruins.

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131 Comments Add yours

  1. David says:

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

    1. Rene Nietz says:

      I am so glad I stumbled across this…..I was a student at Parks ( for 1 year) 1978 – 1979…..my husband & I will traveling to Missour & I have been thinking about my first year at Parks……I was wanting to walk the campus…….and does anyone know of any students from 1979
      My name is Rene Now – Nietz…..I was in the TTT program

      1. Such a sad sight to see. Old buildings which I have walked and lived in for 4 years of my youth. I had good times in good old parks college with a lot of cherished memories of students and teachers. God bless all parks attendees.. 1978 to1981

      2. Eddie says:

        Hi I am Eddie Merchant
        Aappo 79 I love this but I feel bad for the grounds text me 319-310-3000 Eddie

    2. John Guenther says:

      I graduated from Parks/SLU in 1970. Worked as a DOD civilian retiring in 2007 from the Aviation PEO co located with the Aviation Missile command in Huntsville AL Ie Redstone Arsenal. Worked a few more years as a suppprt contractor and quit in 2010. Still have family in Waterloo/Red Bud. Married Brenda Dennison in 1973. Have grown sons and grandchildren part in IL part in AL. Many fine memories of Parks. Dr George Dr Andres Dr Sobishenski And more. Grad from aerospace engineering degree program. Worked on rotary wing aircraft and later as program manager after obtaining MS in management. Parks was close to home. Mention of Gamma Alpha Sigma brought a smile. Ranch Daisies and other places in town have memories as well. I lived in Cahokia. Old town that like the parks campus is no longer the same. Changes not for better. I still have somewhere the class of 70 picture of the O1 bird dog plane in the lobby of engineering science building. Good school good memories but couldn’t afford tuition these days. I worked my way thru working g part time at the old Maplewood Tomboy on upper Cahokia road. Learned lot about dealing with people and even some buisiness things working there.

  2. Dawn says:

    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.

    1. Maryanne says:

      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.

    2. Debbie Duncan says:

      MAY 2017

      The Village is currently in process of restoring the Complex…to its original Historical Aviation value . The ground were originally not just a school… it served as a maint. Depot for most of the famous flers of the 20’s…30’s & 40’s

      The Village is looking to change the complex ito a series of Aviation & military museums… Along with creating a vocational train Facilty…serving adults & High school students…

      IF you believe you would be interested in becoming involved in this project? Then please contact my office… Deputy Clerk Debbie Duncan 618-337-9500

  3. Andrew says:

    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. Scott says:

    What about stooges????

    1. Candace Riddell says:

      Still there. Looks exactly the same!

      1. J Gill says:

        Did you mean the Ranch? Where is Lyle?

        1. Gerry Visel says:

          Jack! You going to be around for St Pats?

          1. j gill says:

            Holy mackerel, Gerry, I never expected anyone to actually reply to my comment, so I didn’t go back and look until just now. Are they still having St Pat’s?

        2. Gerry Visel says:

          Still got the Green Box?

          1. j gill says:

            Sold the 66 van to a co-worker in 74 and bought a brand new 74 Dodge van (green as well). Oddly enough, when I retired that one in 88, for some strange reason, I decided to keep it and I put it in storage. Now that I’m semi-retired, I’ve started restoring it in my spare time. I expect to have it running in a couple of weeks, though the body work (rust) won’t be done this year.

        3. tim says:

          do you remember the gamma alpha sigma fraternity. I was one of them.
          sarley, bag Rosenthal, Pete f.
          I wouldn’t mind hooking up with them. we were at the ranch quite a bit.

        4. Leo Scanlon says:

          Oh, man, what a great place to hang out.

    2. Bill Wendel says:

      We used to pump the jukebox with quarters and select the old country version song “Happy Birthday ” before heading back to campus. The local patrons hated us for that

  5. Allison says:

    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.

    1. Jennifer LouisZ says:

      I’m looking for a student Tim Elliot, any chance you studied with him?

      1. Abdullah Sueifan says:

        Hi Jennifer , I also studied with Tim Elliot! He was a very nice guy and smart in the same time but he suddenly disappeared and I believe he never finished his degree at Parks College.

        Did you manage to establish a contact with Tim Elliot? If yes can you share same with me.
        Cheers,
        Abdullah Sueifan
        Skype: sueifan1

  6. Denny Knepper says:

    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.

    1. Kim says:

      We once had one of or guys bust into the studio, all excited, saying’ “I was picking it (the station) up on the other side of Dupo!!!!”
      It IS heartbreaking to see the place now. I sneak up there once in a while, and last visit, looks like there’s been a fire in Mercury Hall, with the tin shed next to south hanger burned to ground.
      Got photos from ’07 to now, but don’t know how to post them here.

      1. Chris Naffziger says:

        Kim, send me an e-mail to naffziger at gmail dot com. I can post them!

      2. Paul Vinyard III says:

        I was a student at Parks starting 1961 living off campus, graduating in 1963. I have wonderful memories from my time there remembering Father Higgins, Dr. Bloom, my Vector Analysis Professor, and Harold Wood. We used to play devilish tricks on him.

        I had a Piper Clipper PA-16 at the time and often flew to school from St. Louis.

        It was a great school… I never had any regrets going there and realize it was and instrumental factor in the course of my career.

        1. Bob Cieslak says:

          For Parks being a 3 year course, it took me 6 years to finally make it in 1965. Yes Paul, I remember all those professors. My favorite was Mr. Matchett. I was building my own airplane at the time so I used the propeller shop to balance my Flottorp propeller. I took a tour of Parks about 20 years ago and looked real nice at that time. It looks terrible now.

      3. Andy says:

        Kim are u local? Im curious to explore, wondering if its still in tact & able to access? had a uncle that went there in the 70s and told me how its abandoned now & he walked it afew years ago. I do non profit abandoned photography

    2. Albert "Al" King says:

      Denny, I followed you to WPKS; you taught me the board!!

      1. Dave Hobday says:

        AK, what are you doing now? Where are you living?

      2. Dave Hobday says:

        What is a Duckworth?

    3. Sam reilly says:

      I was there same time you were lived in mercury hall also remember the ranch and bar on campus member of alpa phi omega great school now to bad in shambles

    4. Mark Davis says:

      I graduated in 1980
      One of my favorite memories of Professor Harold Wood was when he came to class with a box full of copies of the book “Takeoff Into Greatness” written by Grover Loening. These books came out of Loening’s basement after he passed away. Wood was selling the books for $5 each. I bought one and I’m sure I still have it somewhere.

      1. Paul Vinyard III says:

        One of my favorite memories of Harold Wood was a devilish trick we played on him on day 1 of one of his aviation management classes. He passed an attendance sheet around and someone wrote in the name “Harry Balls”. When Wood called out the name, extreme laughter permeated the room. It flew right over Wood’s head as he kept calling out the name to increased laughter.

  7. Pietro Colella says:

    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!!!

    1. jill says:

      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.

      1. Chris Naffziger says:

        I think SLU still owns the property; I suppose that is whom you should contact.

      2. Chris says:

        The campus was given to the Village of Cahokia. The Mayor’s office is probably the place to start, but they probably have 100 liability-related reasons to deny permission. Worth a try though. They have it for sale: http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/18818684/Falling-Springs-Road-Cahokia-IL/ Maybe you could somehow work that angle.

  8. John Powers says:

    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.

    1. Chris says:

      John: You might try the St Louis Photo Archives @ http://cdm.slu.edu/cdm/search/collection/photos/searchterm/Parks%20College/field/subjec/mode/all/conn/and/order/title

      Might take a bit of rummaging thru the inages to find ones of use to you.

    2. Annette Touchette Wallace says:

      My Uncle Fred Bevelot was a custodian their in the 50s. He used to bring me stuff students had left behind. I still have a very old pinball game with a glass top. Used to play with it all the time. But I don’t have any photos. Wish I did. My cousin took all the family photos when my aunt and uncle died.

  9. Larry Rogers says:

    How do I obtain my old diploma

  10. Chris from Greece says:

    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…..

    1. Julian says:

      Mr Carter the Brit, who slaps you in the back of the head.

    2. Jennifer Louis says:

      I’m looking for a student Tim Elliot, any chance you studied with him?

    3. Dave Foster says:

      Chris-
      Did you know Vsalis Soris? Spelling may be incorrect, Graduated in 1984-5 time frame. He was from Greece.

    4. Kheng Huat Heah says:

      Hi Chris I remember Mr Carter I am AME graduate 89 July

      1. Steve Kalmer says:

        Hi Kheng, I graduated AME July 89 also. (Monday, July 31, 1000am, 1989). I have/had a graduation book from that tri-semester but am having difficulty finding it. It had Matt Laub, Steve Wagner, David, John, Chris Benden, Paul Fredrick etc… I’ll keep looking. Steve Kalmer

        1. Steve Kalmer says:

          Also… I have the 80th Anniversary book of Parks College. It has pics with names of all of the AE and AME instructors. If you want pics I can take some and text/email them to you. email me at sbkalmer at gmail dot com. BTW, my sister Susan graduated EE Fall of 90 and had many of the same instructors we had.

          1. Robert Huntington says:

            Steve,
            My name is Robert Huntington and I graduated in July of 1980 from Parks College. I would be interested in getting a copy of the book you mentioned of the 80th anniversary or at least a few photos come around the time I graduated. Any information about where to find the book or other photos would be very much appreciated. Kindly reply at my email address: rhuntington.ca@netzero.net

          2. Kane Heah says:

            Hi Steve definitely I would like to have some pix as you mentioned. Pls send them to my email khheah@gmail.com. Thank u.

        2. Kane Heah says:

          Hi Steve, I think I still have the graduation book. Drop me a note at my email, khheah@gmail.com

  11. This was my first home when I first came to America in 1982. Breaks my heart to see the buildings abandoned. Happened on this site by happenstance. Thanks for taking time to share the photos and your thoughts.

    1. Rock says:

      Hello… We…village… are currently involved in restoring the grounds & buildings.

      With museums…organizations…such as Homeless Veterans

  12. Thomas F Maher says:

    My Mother learned to fly on a J-2 (or J-3) Cub at Parks in the late ’30s.
    It took her years to save for the lessons, having been infatuated with flying after meeting Amelia Earhart on one of the latter’s early visits to St. Louis.
    Then I came along and then the War – and those events put paid to “Mom In The Air.”

    1. Rock says:

      Do you have any photos from her times at Parks? There is currently an effort in bring the grounds back to life….museums..diner…special organizations such as quarters for homeless veterans. The History is extremely important

      1. Thomas F Maher says:

        Sorry – no photos at all. Props to those involved in the project!

  13. Ginger says:

    To all CAHOKIA PARKS AIR COLLEGE ALUM….. you might want to call the village seat…. Deputy Clerk Debbie Duncan..618-337-9500. There is a great push to put the campus back to use. Restore the historical landmark. Application has been submitted to put the grounds & buildings on the National registry.
    a museum may be moving into the Kitty Hawk.
    Home for the Homeless Veterans…

    IF you have that historical connection…and interested in knowing more..or would offer support (God knows they need a lot of it)…please call…

  14. Ed Watson says:

    Wow, just toured the old campus on 8/20 and was heart-sick to see it in such ruins. Unfortunately, according to Debbie Duncan on 8/23, there is no longer a movement to restore the place. The one bright spot is a restaurant, Stingers, that is utilizing one of the buildings, and according to her, because Stinger’s bought the parcel the building was on, the would-be developer dropped the plans for the restoration. As a 1982 grad from the Aviation Science PPO program, it would have been awesome to see it restored and made a historic site as it should be. Another interesting note is that Hangar 2 at the downtown airport (formerly Bi-State Parks) where we flew from when I was in flight training, now houses the Greater St.Louis Air & Space Museum. They have an AWESOME collection, and our docent Tom Ahillen, was excellent showing us all the very interesting artifacts. They are, however, looking at moving to another facility on the airport due to the deteriorating condition of the building. It would be a shame to see that building go as it was around during the time of Lindberg, and rumor has it he was in that building, if nothing else than to use the restroom (which is still 1920’s original) during a time that he was running airmail. I am currently the director of the Piper Memorial Airport in Lock Haven, PA and a volunteer/member of the Piper Aviation Museum which was established to preserve the history of Piper Aircraft when it was headquartered here from 1937-1984. It is important to support the preservation of our Aviation history, and I certainly hope someone will take a hard look at trying to do something with the old Parks campus and Hangar 2 building at the airport.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Thanks for sharing, Ed!

  15. Polly Thrall says:

    Can any former Parks students tell me what “Cahokia #13” might have referred back in the late 40s or very early 50s? My dad attended Parks (and I’m glad he died without knowing the current condition of his alma mater), and among his belongings (he was quite the pack rat) is an old slide rule labeled with his name followed by “Cahokia #13”. I had figured Cahokia to be a residence hall, but since the town is Cahokia, now I’m not sure so sure…. Unless there was only one residence hall on the Cahokia campus??? Thanks in advance….

    1. Richard Bohnsack says:

      There were several residence halls at Parks, Cahokia Hall was one of them. Cahokia #13 probably referred to Room 13 in Cahokia Hall. I lived in Mercury Hall but prior to that, for about a week, I lived in Aviation Hall, until I could move to the air conditioned Mercury Hall (Sept 1962).

  16. Angelo De Stefano says:

    I attended Parks in 1958/59 and had to leave for personal reasons I lived in the basement that was called ” blood alley”. It was supposedly named because British pilots who trained there during WW2 knew their lifetime was short. Had some great friends , but lost track of them.

    1. Richard Bohnsack says:

      When I attended Parks (62 – 65), the term Blood Alley was still slightly in use and it was the lower level of Parks Hall but it referred to drunken type shenanigans that resulted in a few physical type of accidents usually caused by members of one of the fraternities that largely occupied the dorm. (Don’t remember the name of the frat.)

      1. Mario Vitale says:

        Hi Rich! We were at Parks at the same time (’62-’66 , took me a bit longer to graduate!?!? 🙂 When I arrived, I was assigned, along with 3 others, to a room on the 3rd floor of Parks Hall. Lived there for the first year and a half, when there was a small fire in the building. They re-opened South Hall, which had been unused for some time,and moved several of us there while while the fire damage was being repaired.
        When I was living in Parks Hall, the term “Blood Alley” was very much in use, and the same debate over the origin of the name was going on as well.
        Blood Alley was not so much a ‘basement’, but the first level of the 3 story building, the floor of which was about 3 or 4 feet below ground level.
        At one end of Blood Alley was the mail room, and tt the other was Father Higgins’ (Higgie), the resident Jesuit Priest, office and residence…. Yes, very good memories!

        1. Jerry Koszyk says:

          I am sure you don’t remember me but I sure the hell remember you….a short, good looking “ginny” from the east coast. This is Jerry koszyk, Polock from Chicago, class of ’67. Roommate of Jerry Venanzi, Trenton NJ (POW ’67 till ’73) Merc Hall room 315. Was a devote “GAS” brother at El Rancho. I do believe one of the writers for the movie “Animal House” had to attend Parks at about the same time. Parks was Animal House. I started out AE, then AME, then slid to AA and was lucky to get that one. Father Hart was my hero. Rode my Harley through Cahokia in 2010. Very sad to see the campus a wreck. I’ve had a great life in aviation. Living in California now. Still flying, still riding. Last drink – 1987 – so some things do change. JLKOS@att.net

          1. Chetan (Chet) Patel says:

            Hello Jerry

            I lived in Merc Hall Room 315 from 9/87 to graduation 12/90. (AE and AME).

      2. Bob Przetak says:

        “Blood Alley was still in use when I went to A&P school there in ’68.

    2. 'CP' Daelemans says:

      I lived in ‘Blood Alley’ in 1957/58, (6 semesters} and moved over to Aviation Hall in 1959. My room was right next to the mail room and Carl Forsberg was my only room mate all of the that time. We always associated the term with the fact that Parks always filled those rooms with the incoming freshman and in those days the attrition rate for freshman was significant, in fact the first two students I met when I arrived flunked out shortly afterwards!

    3. 'CP' Paul Daelemans says:

      I spent two years living in ‘Blood Alley’ in the room next to the mail room with Carl Forsberg until he graduated in ’58. Carl and I once got kicked out of the ranch by Lyle when a game of Cardinal Puff got way out of control!
      I moved on to Aviation Hall until ’59 when I graduated. Used to drive a white MGTF-1500 and overhauled the engine in my dorm room so I could trade it for an MGA-1600 before I went to work full-time at McDonnell on the F-4 Phantom II and the Gemini programs.

  17. Rich says:

    I worked in the library during the late 80’s where I laminated hundreds of old photos from the 20’s through the 70’s. I hope they are still preserved somewhere. Dr. Monfort and Dr. Manor made quite an impression as well. Great times shared with Dan, Jill, Mick, Sam, Guy, Steve, and of course Slick.

  18. Keith says:

    Is there somewhere or does anyone have a map of the campus when it was active, I would love to have a copy. A group I’m with is going to be doing a photoshoot there, with the city permission of course. And I though a campus map would be useful, heck if you have layouts of the building too that would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

  19. Dan Petersen says:

    Hi, I entered my first year at Parks College back in September, 1980. It was a magical time and a huge part of my teenage life, so many great memories. I enrolled in their PPO program, my flight instructors name was Marty Culbertson, he was the funniest guy and knew everything about flying. I remember soloing on October 7th, of that year. I did one touch and go and then the full stop to pick-up my flight instructor who was all smiles, I just remember my back being soaking wet and feeling on top of the world, what a day to remember. The whole time I was at Parks I resided in Halloran Hall (D-block), this was the best place to stay since every Wednesday was hump night in this dormitory which meant the beer was flowing and the modern 80’s rock music was playing. Long story short, after becoming a pilot at Parks I went on to fly a twin engine corporate jet, Cessna’s Citation. This plane had a little more zip than the Cessna 152’s we were trained in over at Bi-State Parks airport. In conclusion, SLU definitely could have maintained their property and when the city of Cahokia gained control they should have picked up the ball. It’s up to the state of Illinois now, lets keep our fingers crossed and hope they may provide some badly needed restoration funding for this worthy historical landmark.

    1. Jennifer Louis says:

      I’m looking for a student Tim Elliot, any chance you studied with him?

    2. Sam reilly says:

      Where you at now dan might know you thanks

  20. Jay PerryCook says:

    Fascinating history posted here on Parks College. I read through these posts to see if I could find anything on a deHavilland Beaver owned by Parks College from 1973 to I believe, 1995 when they closed. Through my quick research here, it looks like Parks had at least two Beavers. A photo of one (N211PC) is on the Wikipedia site for Parks College. The other would have been N90508 (now N8134G) which I own and keep in Gig Harbor, WA. This aircraft spent over 20 years flying in Alaska after it left Parks until I purchased it in November of 2016. I am looking for any photos or stories of my airplane (N90508) while it was owned by Parks College for those 22 years. Your help will be greatly appreciated. You can email me directly at jay@perrycook.com. One “small world” fact that I just discovered in this research this morning is that N211PC (now N437CH) happens to be the airplane that I share a hangar with in Gig Harbor! Maybe these aircraft really do have souls and yearn to be reunited with old friends.

  21. Dan says:

    I attended from 1968 to the spring of 1970, Their was a very large athletic field out behind Mercury Hall. I was told that it was a flight training field in WW2. It was later the training ground for the North American Soccer league (NASL) St.Louis Stars. Some of the training apparatus was still there in 68. Across the street was a WWll barracks that was converted into a great gym for basketball and the AFROTC program. We had a protest sit-in in 1969 at STLU admin building when we lost SACS accreditation because we did not have enough research materials in the library. We needed something to do that day.

  22. David L. Lawrence says:

    I graduated from Parks in the Summer of 1965 – an amazing education – I was one of the fortunate few who was a Co-Op Student with McDonnell Aircraft Co. at the time. There were a few of us – Bob Civey, Steve Soltis, Jim Gidulas, Vic James, Leo Carocella, Joe Schwin, and a few others – we were watched over and given various jobs that continued our educations in the real sense. Wow! was I ever lucky. I distinctly remember my first day at Parks and meeting a wonderful woman – Meta Wecker. We had great Professors, George, Andres, Bondie, Ball, Rhodes, Treffiny, and many more. I also remember the great Fathers – Sanderson, Hart, Higgins to name a few. Who was the Professor who taught us Physics (he worked on the Manhattan Project – PhD type named Dr. Dahm???? What wonderful memories – a few years ago, my wife Vicki and I stopped by and saw what is left of our old School!

  23. Aziz Meer says:

    Graduated from Parks College in 1991 with a bachelors in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. Heart breaking to see the institution in this sorry state. Miss great teachers – McLean, Guja etc. God knows where they all are today ?

    1. Jennifer Louis says:

      I’m looking for a student Tim Elliot, any chance you studied with him?

    2. PETE HERDER says:

      Aziz, I believe we attended Parks together. Are you still in the states?

      1. Aziz says:

        Yes, Pete. Sorry took so long to get back to you. Just those wonderful memories of days gone by. Gosh ! I am settled in Canada (Windsor, ON) just across from Detroit. Give a shout at (519) 995-5252

  24. Jim Rowe says:

    I first entered Aero Engg at Parks in July 1944. It was on the quarter system.
    I lived in Parks Hall. Very hot in the shops learning welding, doping(painting fabric), riveting (taking salt tablets with every trip to the water fountain), etc.
    Classes in aerodynamics, strength of materials, design, etc. Nights studying
    till about 1 a.m., but always with ’40s records playing either 33 or 45 rpm.
    Made window swamp coolers from desk fan and wet shop towels. Often listened to local radio of Cardinals vs Brooklyn Dodgers. Played on Parks
    tennis team. Coming in from practice in April ’45 heard of Roosevelt’s death
    through open dorm window. Left to join the Navy……Back in January ’46 to
    graduate in Sept ’48.(year around classes). Almost NO AE jobs after the war.
    so my Prof Reagan suggested Iowa State to become instructor while getting
    MSAE. Good idea! Oh! I lived in Cahokia Hall the second time around. We had to do a thesis to graduate in AE. Mine was on bonded plywood aircraft struct-
    ures (a la Brit. Mosquito fighter). Lots of library research,writing, typing in the shade (summer 1948) out on the grass with Falstaff or Slippery Richard or Pabst at my side. Still have my original Cornwell tool box and handtools. Also
    still have my original pilot license and A&E licenses from CAB. (now A&P and
    FAA), My E license hands-on test for Inspector was partial teardown of P&W
    R4360 corncob 28 cylinder. Very bloody hands from the many sheetmetal air
    deflectors. So many stories of going to Parks and so many lifelong friends. Not
    many left.
    Thanks for the memories. Jim Rowe
    Parks 1948 AE

  25. Leonard J Musgrave says:

    Attended Parks from 61 to 64 with an AME degree. Great education and had a wonderful life now retired and recall the best times at Ronnies with the Brothers of Zigma and we still get together every few years for a reunion. Best was it only cost 4,800 dollars for all three years now it is 60k for one year.

  26. Betty Shinaberry says:

    My father (David H. McFadden) attended Parks in 1929-1931 (?). A friend who attended at the same time was Vincent Pon. Do you have any record of them?

  27. Perry Kohrs Bill says:

    Bill kohrs AME 1956 attended 1953 1956 best years of my life fingers don’t workanymore Im 88 but still hanging in there anybody from 56?

  28. Fred Greene says:

    Reading these comments bring tears of happiness. What a great place. Arrived Sept. 74 graduated May 77. PPO. Still in touch with several. You all know SLU almost shut the aviation program down in 2006 right? Quite a battle but got the Dean and his assistant fired. Was back in 2007 and laughed as a couple wives grabbed stuff from their husband’s rooms in Merc. Think of Harold Wood often. Thank Ben Able often for his weather knowledge imparted. Still tell Bondi’s three high lift devices joke “slots, slats and sluts” joke. You know his daughter, Susan, was the best alumni relations person Parks ever had. NASA connection remains but not as strong as it once was. We have a Parks grad’s airplane hanging in the National Air and Space museum in DC. Go Gerry. Attorneys have taken most of the fun out of what we once enjoyed; The Pub, Patricia Steven’s finest, Barnes’ nurses, cruises on the Admiral formation spins, toilet paper cutting and flower bombing cows. The Ranch, collasials and Hustler wall paper what a history. Last year was my 40th and it passed without a peep. If you are not tied into the alumni association, please give them a chance. We all really need a reunion.

  29. Fred Greene says:

    BTW, I proposed in the TV room lobby of Merc. She’s still here.

  30. Glen Davis says:

    when at Parks, in the maintenance labs, there was a V2 rocket motor I hope has been kept by the university as it is a rarity.
    I Also had fond memories of Derek Carter, an instructor there, he had a maintenance background from the RAF during WW2 when he was stationed in N. Africa where his wife Jose’ came from.
    I am also reminded of a classmate, Chuck Albritan, who was a fellow US ARMY VET, who was a helicopter pilot who hovered his hughey outside
    my dorm window at 7:00 AM on a sat morning.
    The Ranch was a great place to gather for my generation to gather as well to drink 3.2 beer and I remember going to dance on the riverboats quite often. The main campus swimming pool was fun to go swimming in if you could get there, that was mainly on weekends. St. Louis is a great City and was a lot of fun when
    I was there as a student at Parks, and Parks was a great school to go to. My first job leaving there was as a “production flight test engineer” at Douglas A/C in 1978; I left there for for Rockwell Intl, and the B-1B program and was a project
    engineer for all things conv. and nuclear related on the B-1. I then left southern
    Cal. for New England several years later and was the Chief engineer for a regional airline in NH for many years before leaving for a job in Nigeria.
    My only complaint at Parks was the food in the caff could have been better! the food in the snackbar was great! Hello to Helen Sneerbush were ever you are!

  31. Salem Alsaleh says:

    Feeling bad to see parks collage ending like that, I graduated 98 with Aeronautical engineering. As an international student, parks collage had a lot of memories with the campus, professors, students and so on.
    Last moth I’ve visited the New building that replaced parks in SLU, I’ve met Mr. Steve Magic and Mr. Kelly and I was sorry to know some of the other professors have passed away.
    Still the parks collage in cohokia had the best memories of mine.

  32. Jeff Green says:

    Such a sad sight to see. I started in 1992 and lived on the 3rd floor of Mercury Hall. Masaharu Suzuki was my roommate and good friend Jesse Carriger was just down the hall. I remember visiting Stooges occasionally and had what seemed like a full time job washing dishes and serving food in the cafeteria. We transitioned from the 152’s to the Tampico’s the second semester I was there. It was an exciting time for this farm boy from rural Illinois. After school, I moved on to do some corporate flying and have had a hand in rebuilding several airplanes and continue to work in the aviation environment as a Commissioner / Board Member of our local airport.

  33. Haley says:

    Did any of you attend this college between the years of 1968 and 1972? Did you know a Thomas or Tom Champley?

    1. Peter McHardy says:

      Hi ..I was there on and off from Jan/1968 to Spriing 1975 (slow, I know). I don’t knowTom Champley but I’m looking for a roommate of mine by the name of Chuck Grow. Anyone know him?

  34. Denis Smith says:

    Hello Parks College alumni. My oldest brother, Tom Smith, graduated in 1974 as an aeronautical engineer. Perhaps some of you remember him. He has recently taken ill and has been hospitalized. We are asking for prayers for our brother, Parks College alumni and one of the smartest individuals I have ever known. Thank you!

    1. Albert "Al" King says:

      The name sounds familiar. I graduated AA, 1975 and was also PG.

      1. Tom Williams says:

        I attended Parks 1972-1975; was friends with Steve Undis (we were both from Minnesota)…he was also in PG, remember him?

        1. Jim Frye says:

          I attended Parks from 74 to 78 , and was in PG freshman year with Gabe Laibinis , Dan Ruffin , Mike Wolf and Steve Undis . I would love to hear what became of Steve and Mike

      2. Dave Hobday says:

        I graduated A&P December 16th, 1975. You lived across the hall from me on the 2nd floor Mercury Hall.

  35. Tsvika (Vik) Segall says:

    Hello Parks alumni. Tsvika (vik) Segall, from Israel, graduated as an AME from Parks College in Cahokia in December of 1991. To those who read this, I held the position of the Secretary of the Parks International Student Association (ISA). These were the best years of my life and the best experience a young man could have. I am, as written before, both saddened by the pictures of the place and filled with emotions. For one trimester, I lived in Merc Hall for a while which I quite enjoyed, ate at the caff. and at Pat’s place which had fantastic Nachos.
    The names Mr. Carter, Mr. Richard Kamm, Mr Kelly, Mr Hamd Hindi, “Jumping Jack- Bryer” and many others bring joy and fond memories.
    Thank you Chris for posting these and the additional pictures!!
    Thank you guys for sharing your thoughts.
    As another “aviator” used to say “Live long and prosper”

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Keep the great memories coming! I love hearing about all of the stories pilots from around the world have shared about Parks College.

    2. Aziz Meer says:

      Hey Vik
      Remember me ? We went to school together doing the AME program. We used do quite a few homework together – thermodynamics and also structural analysis (Dr. Nitzche). Where are you now ? I am in Canada. Do getin touch via whatsapp +1 (519) 995-5252

  36. Eddie Merchant says:

    Eddie Merchant AA-PPO April 79. The pics bring back so many great memories. To my frat brothers teachers and fellow students I miss you all.As I saw the pics of the campus a tear came to my eyes. God bless!!!

  37. Bob Franz says:

    My name is Bob Franz, AE graduating class of 1953, member of Phi Alpha Chi(PAC) fraternity. I was amazed to see some of the old buildings still standing. I lived in Port View Arms that was between the cafeteria and airfield – I suspect it is no longer. Would enjoy hearing from anyone in the 1950-53 era, particularly from PAC – my email address is bluebirds.bob@gmail.com.

  38. Ralph DeFazio says:

    My dad graduated in the class of 1939. He went on to work at the Alabama Institute in Tuscaloosa during WWII. He was picked for that job by Oliver Parks. He’s long gone but I know he’d be sad to see it abandoned.

  39. Abdullah Sueifan says:

    I studied Aerospace Engineering at Parks College of SLU – graduated 1991. It was the best memories I had in my mind about Parks College campus in Cahokia also near by village Dupo where I lived for a while. I’m so sorry to see the way college campus situation now and hoped that SLU will make Parks College a museum for next generation to know how great this college was in teaching aviation science for students from all over the world.

    Please if any one from Parks College wish to communicate he can reach me at my e-mail ( sueifan1 at Yahoo dot com ).

    Cheers,
    Abdullah

  40. My dad Jose Urquidi (he was Jose de Urquidi Osollo, his title said Jose Osollo Urquidi) graduate from this college in 1936 and he was a real champion of aviation in the US and later in Mexico, Cited in October 1948 by Flying magazine. Love to be in contact with classmates

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      That’s such a wonderful memory! Thank you for sharing!

  41. Marsha Carbaugh says:

    My Dad, Edward Wilson, graduated from the Operations Class on June 4, 1940. I have a picture of the entire class if anyone is interested.

    If interested in the 1940 photo, my contact is marshac@centurylink.net

  42. Kenneth Schwartz says:

    I Attended Parks 1961 to 1964 after witch u worked a civilian Engineer at Wright Patterson AFB.. Retired from my AF career after 30 years. The excitement of Military aviation and Gods gift of 4 wonderful children was my reward. Parks gave me a truly wonderful life. Feel free to contact me @ SonicEagle2@Yahoo.com

  43. Paul Kozel says:

    Graduated from parks in 1959 with degree in AE. Student names I remember are Chuck Miller, best roommate ever, Bill Bracken , Gary Macintyre, Dudley Klain, Jim Sisk, Walt Engle, Elmer Kadota , Archie Ng and Chuck Cason. Anyone remember or know of any of these or others from this time, I would like to hear of them especially my old roommate Chuck Miller.

    1. C.P. Daelemans says:

      I remember graduating with Archie Ng who was from Hong Kong and Chuck Casson from Maryland I think. At least their names are familiar but my memories of them have faded somewhat. No idea where they are today but hope they had as much fun in their careers as I did!

  44. Dave Borden says:

    Attended Parks 1978 – 1982 and Graduated from the AME program. Have now spent (38) years working at many large and small aerospace companies in MRB, Design, Quality, Program Management and management positions. Like many, I started at McDonnell from 1982-1987. Still keep in touch with Darren Lutz, A&P, and Chris Hannemann, PPO and AMMT. Both are still active in the airline business.

  45. Hello All! 1979-1982 (trimester system) Aerospace Engineering, then USAF for 20 years. I was president of the Alpha Beta Gamma fraternity (definitely an “Animal House”!), on the school newspaper, DJ’d for WPKS, worked weekends at Muddy Waters Saloon on Laclede’s Landing in St. Louis. Loved my whole time at Parks. Lived in Halloran, Mercury and off-campus. Great memories of people, teachers and events! Saddened by the current condition…Would love to learn about alumni reunions or connect with old friends!!

  46. Mike DeCapua says:

    Great memories of Prof Ben Abell and my Metro buds. Father Ed was my across the hall neighbor, another good friend, along with Ken Ryan. Twenty-six years in AF and Air Force Reserves boring holes in the sky with AC130s. I owe a great deal of my professional success to Col. Tom Mannion, AFROTC Det Commander, and staff.

    1. Jim Frye says:

      Gee I was in ROTC with a pilot slot in 75 when the took mine and 10 0r 12 other candidates slots away in a RIFF. Best thing that ever happened to me as I went to the Navy and Marine who both offered me pilot slots . After wings did a tour as an instructor, then rolled into the first F/A18 squadron in 82

  47. Regan says:

    Found this site while googling about Parks. 82 AME here and like many here wonderful memories. There’s a great FB group if anyone cares to check it out. https://www.facebook.com/groups/6254807947/?ref=share

  48. Cathy VanVoorhis says:

    Trying to locate some buddies of my father, Jesse Fox. They were students at Parks in the 50’s. Dad is ailing and we hope to contact his friends: John Murphy and Paul Golden. Would appreciate any help!

    1. Gene Racho says:

      Cathy, Gene Racho here. Jesse was my instructor and in 1963 I took over his slot in the AME dept. While googling him I saw he passed away. He was a fine person and teacher. My prayers go out to you and your family. Did meet up with him one time when he came to the East coast of MI. I lived in Northville at the time. Think it was late 90’s or early 2000’s…
      G Racho

  49. Brian Lilly says:

    Greetings! I attended Parks Fall of ’73 until graduation in Dec 75 (transferred from another college). Worked at WPKS just down the hall from “The Pub”, learned from Al King. The “request” line was an open window. ROTC, 25 years in the USAF as a Herc Nav. Living locally, haven’t been back in a long time. Lived in Mercury Hall, Room 345 until I got married in Sep 75. Stay safe!

  50. Skip Hickey says:

    Hi Kids,( anyone under 60 is a kid)
    I entered Parks in 1957 and lived in Room 14 in Aviation Hall. Some stories:
    I had driven out from N.J with parents, and when I first walked into Aviation Hall, carrying my trunk , a frog leaped across the entrance. Leo the caretaker hit him with a mop. The frog, severely injured, hopped under the Coke machine and my Dad, who was right behind me said “Are You sure you want to go here?
    There was nothing like smelling the morning air from Monsanto chemical plant in the early morning before breakfast.
    I worked in the Ma Hans Cafeteria. If you all remember, we ate a lot of pork. After finishing Ma’s repast , Students brought their tray’s into the slop shop and we would dump them into a garbage can that was under the counter, and sometimes the ” Silverware” went with them. Well, One night I went in for my shift and noticed a garbage can filled with silverware. I asked Ma where this came from she said that all the leftover food was given to a farmer that fed it to his pigs. He picked the silverware out threw in into a garbage can and returned it so it could be cleaned up.Now since we had a lot of pork, and we were giving leftovers to the pig farmer, and he was providing Ma with pork, it appears that we were eating the same recycled pig.
    We were studying Analytic Geometry, taught by Mr. Blum . It was about 2:00:AM and three of us were conferring about this particular extra credit problem, when one of the guys ( Parks was an all male svhool at that time)Brought in a Peanut butter cupcake from the vending machine. My Best friend wwho was working the problem took a bite,and went back to concentrating on the problem. It was then I noticed a worm crawl out from one side of the cupcake to the other.I called this to the attention of my fellow students . We all agreed this was highly unsanitary and must be delt with by cleansing with alcohol. So we adjourned to the Ranch.
    I graduated in 61, worked at Wright Patterson as an engineer in the area of stability and control (Taught by Royal Bondie using Perkins and Hage) and worked as lead flying qualities engineer on the F-15 . prototype stealth programs Have Blue, Tacit blue and was chief engineer on the F-117. I am forever grateful for the education I got from Parks and wouldn’t trade it

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Wow, those are great stories!

    2. Paul J. Nager says:

      Oh hell you made me laugh with the line about the Monsanto chemical smell! I attended fall ’87 and graduated May ’91, and majored in Logistics. J.J. Kustura, Tom Cronin, and Dr. Sabin who taught Psychology I remember well. Lived in both Mercury and Holloran. Last visited the campus in 2014 and it was sad to see. Still friends with my Kappa Delta Rho alumni and we re-unite every couple of years in various cities. I’ve found work in my field for 25 years. I used to give campus tours to prospective students for some extra $, and kept the score book for the basketball team. Played intramural flag football, and was a dj at the SLU campus radio station for 2 semesters. Hated my first year there, but after adjusting, grew to really appreciate the place. Fun to read these other memories.

  51. Peter"Swede" Soderquist says:

    Swede here. AA ’69. Anybody have a “Parks Animal” shirt they want to sell?

  52. E Jayasingha says:

    This is EJ (parks call sign Canadian Bacon) from Ontario, Canada. It was great to read all the comments regarding our beloved Parks College. Does anyone remember the Colossal burger at the snack bar? Last couple of years I used to attend Oshkosh airshow and visit the Parks tent and inquire about the campus. They always tell me to keep my old memories and not visit the campus. I graduated in 82 from the AME program. Would like to get in touch with Kevin Kilian, or Rich Jones both AME 82 and worked for McDonnell Douglas (Boeing). Chris from Greece, I remember you. I keep in touch with your ex-roommate Curtis Wagner (American Airline, Dallas) very often. Anyone interested feel free to contact me atps@rogers.com

  53. Angel says:

    I graduated in 1983 BS in AME….just visited the campus on 03/22/2021…it’s so sad to see how it looks like today

  54. Kim R.W. says:

    Does anyone remember the names of the two male students from the late 1960’s, who stayed separately in Room 114 in Mercury Hall? Unfortunately, and separately, they took their own lives. It’s said to be very haunted. R.I.P.

  55. Roger P Watkins says:

    My father was a student in 1937at Parks then became an instructor later in the 1940’s. I still have a picture of him and some of the students standing in front of the airplane that he flew all the time. His name was George H. Watkins

  56. J.P. Bentwrench says:

    I’m a Parks grad, class of ‘89. It’s very sad for me to see the campus in this condition. The happiest memories I have are my college days at Parks. APO had the best parties on campus and our fraternity, APS had the best parties off campus. RIP Parks College of St. Louis University, Cahokia, Illinois. You’ll never be forgotten.

  57. Mark Hammond says:

    My name is Mark Hammond, I grew up in Cahokia with a very large family and some of them attended Parks college. I grew up with a great love for aviation and I would be interested in helping to restore one or more of these buildings here. Please contact me at 314-226-7915 if anyone has any information.

  58. I graduated as an Aerospace Engineer in 198…2? It was a pivotal time in my life. Oh, the stories… I’m saddened to learn that the old campus was abandoned (and so long ago!). It breaks my heart to see some of these pictures — the memories still come flooding back.

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