Art & Life

Today in Kirkwood History: The ‘better side’ of KCC

Renovations on Iowa Hall begin this week as the school closes down for winter break. These changes remind us of the growth of the Kirkwood Community. In this week’s edition of Today in Kirkwood History we take a look at an article published 50 years ago examining the origins of Kirkwood’s architecture.

Originally published in Communique Nov 17, 1969

The ‘better side’ of KCC
by Randy Ketelsen

It is only common knowledge that the unglamorous side of an unglamorous college building is its back. But did anyone every stop to think that the glamorous side of a glamorous building could very well be the back side? The architects of KCC did just that. In an attempt to make Linn Hall a beautiful, modern center of learning, they made the uncommon error of putting the glamorous side of the building to the back. It has been overly-estimated that one out of every ten students has taken the time to really look at “the better side” of Kirkwood. Most people look to the south from the lobby balcony and conclude that fresh sod and cornfields are hidden behind Linn Hall so as not to be seen and laughed at by supporters of the ‘ Cornfield College” theory. Both factions those who defend KCC and those who laugh with the “Cornfield” theory are guilty of not giving the “backyard” a chance. The “bowl shaped” hill has already provided an area for some brave students, who are willing to risk their apathetic image ” to indulge in such immoral activities as tag, king of the mountain and even rolling races. 

The greenhouse, in the foreground, is the only one of the features of Kirkwood’s back side. (1969) PHOTO BY TOM MERRYMAN

Though it is strictly “uncool” to partake in such endeavors, these “college spirited” students must be complimented on their desire to have fun at the risk of being persecuted by the “in” people. The backyard of Linn Hall offers a wide variety of social atmosphere. Any of a number of areas can provide a refreshing change from the daily routine of the lobby or lounge. Check out the “better side” of Linn Hall one of these days. 

Rock Garden
The ‘Rock Garden’ gives discussion groups an informal and pleasant atmosphere. (1969)

Whether you count rocks in the “Rock Garden”, slip away to the “Pit” with someone special, or just groove on the hill side, you will find your time has been refreshingly rewarded. The backside of Linn Hall offers more than wide-open sloping spaces. It is amazing how many students are unaware of the greenhouse that rises and extends from the backside of the building. This structure is one of the finest of it’s kind in all of Iowa’s Community Colleges, yet its existence at KCC is unknown to a surprisingly large number of students. Another exclusive feature of the “better side” is the “Rock Garden.” This area is self-designating as many flat rocks are placed in such a fashion so as to create an atmosphere of aesthetic design. This area provides a relaxing setting for anything from studying to just plain doing nothing. The most predictably popular area on the backside of Linn Hall is none other than the “Passion Pit”. This pit-like area is cleverly hidden in a surprising remote place close to the lobby balcony. This secluded area provides a romantic setting for telling that special someone how much you really care.

Images courtesy of Tom Merryman and Communique Staff

Categories: Art & Life