Parks Air College: Past, Present & Future

By on January 8, 2019

From NextSTL:  If you’re lucky enough to sit at the very last barstool of Stingers Restaurant & Pizzeria in Cahokia, you notice something a bit remarkable through the restaurant’s nearby blinds. Not even 20-feet away sits one of the many abandoned buildings of the old Parks Air College. The school was a staple of this Illinois town from 1928 until 1996, when it was fully-subsumed by Saint Louis University, along the way becoming Parks College of Aviation, Engineering and Technology. That version of Parks still exists, with classrooms at the main midtown Frost Campus of SLU and a small hangar/flight presence remaining in Illinois at the nearby Downtown St. Louis Airport in Cahokia.

But 70-years of history remain in stasis at the intersection of Camp Jackson Road and Falling Spring Road, a stone’s throw from the area’s primary feeder road, Illinois Route 3.

For 22 years now, the dozen-odd buildings within the old Parks College have been slowly, steadily reabsorbed by nature; ditto parking lots, open spaces and walkways.

Only one building from the old complex has found a new life and that’s the one that houses both Stingers, popular for its sub-$10 pizza-and-salad buffet; and its under-the-same-roof neighbor, Ultimate Tax Service. About 100 yards away, a YMCA built-from-scratch sits alongside Parks’ old soccer field, and all three of these concerns immediately overlook the overgrown, crumbling, yet remarkably tranquil grounds of the old Parks.

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About Dede Hance