Building Pammel Court
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, which offered education and housing stipends to returning veterans, ushered in an era of unprecedented growth at Iowa State. Widely known as the G.I. Bill, the 1944 act was eagerly embraced by the nation’s returning World War II soldiers. Iowa State, much like colleges and universities across the country, was overwhelmed by the massive increase in student enrollment applications. With many of Iowa’s veterans newly married, and often with children on the way, Iowa State found itself unable to offer housing for married families.
To alleviate the housing shortage for married students, Iowa State’s administration reached out to the Federal Public Housing Authority and made use of funds made available through the Veterans’ Emergency Housing Act of 1946 to bring temporary housing units to an empty field north of campus. Named Pammel Court, the new married student housing project consisted of 734 metal barracks, 152 trailers, 50 Quonset huts, 79 demountable housing units, and 65 private lots.
Images in the case:
Resolution for Abandonment, 1967. (RS 7/4/12, box 11, folder 9). Julian C. Schilletter Papers.
The estimated life-span of Pammel Court when it opened in 1946 was five years. By the time of this 1967 document calling for the demolition of many of the original barracks and pre-fabricated units, Pammel Court was already twenty-one years old. This document illustrates the resilience of Pammel Court on the Iowa State landscape.
The final demolition of Pammel Court would not begin until the 1997/98 academic school year.
Demolition, 1966. Ames Tribune photograph, courtesy of Ames Historical Society, © Ames Tribune. All Rights Reserved.
The impending demise of Pammel Court had been a topic of discussion since the early 1950s. Not surprisingly, the actual demolition of the units in the late 1990s garnered a great deal of attention from Ames residents and Iowa State alumni.
Current Views of former Pammel Court Site, 2016.
The first three photographs from the left were taken by Dalton Gackle. The photograph on the far right was taken by Dacey Messinger.
Illustration of Pammel Court, circa 1977. Excerpt of Original Artwork created by Jody Kalvik. Original in possession of Jody Kalvik.
This image is an abbreviated copy of an original piece created by Jody Kalvik as part of an art project when she was a student at Iowa State University. The drawing highlights articles and objects that Pammel Court residents would recognize. The silhouette of Pammel Court’s barracks buildings under an awning of trees was a common street scene.