The wet weather shows the need of many walks, where now there is nothing but mud. The walk to the west gate has been greatly improved by the new cinder road built last fall, but in other places the need of walks is quite evident. About the new building especially, the condition of the walks is deplorable. Even some planks laid here would be a great help.Iowa State Daily, “The winter weather” from 28 Feb 1903
Nearly 120 years ago, amidst a winter thaw, one of the earliest calls for decent sidewalks in West Ames was published by The I.S.C. Student. The earliest one I found came from 1900 with this one being the next oldest, and the first in a string of regular complaints from the Daily staff during the 1900s and 1910s. Though plenty of building and students migrating away from campus housing was occurring in the Campustown and West Gate communities, useful sidewalks weren’t in the works. Instead, pathways were often composed of dirt and maybe some cheap gravel — not even wood cinder blocks. After a rain or a spring thaw, you’d spend your evening cleaning your shoes.