PMP 2024: Early 90's On Campus

PMP 2024: Early 90's On Campus

First off, thanks to all who have donated. I know you might have clicked on the donation link in the last post and saw "$0 raised" but... I'm not sure why it isn't updating. We are currently two donors away from reaching our fundraising goal. If that's you, for a $100 donation to my dad's scholarship fund, I'll write whatever post you want me to write. The link to the fundraiser page is here.

Here's the request from Michael:

Trip down memory lane early 1990's top five bars, spots on campus to chill, best classes you took, and best place to actually study.

That. I. Can. Do.

And let's all start by watching this video. It's Green Street in 1994 on one side and Green Street in 2019 on the other side:

That video on the left is how it's supposed to look, people.

My years on campus: fall of 1991 to spring of 1996 (yes, five full years including two bouts of academic probation). And I lived in Champaign (and not Urbana) all five years:

Freshman: Forbes Hall
Sophomore: Fraternity house
Junior: 2nd floor of a house on Chalmers between 1st and Locust
Senior year #1: Healey Court Apartments (right on the Boneyard Creek across from Gully's)
Senior year #2: One-bedroom apartment on Locust just south of Green St.

The progression is kind of hilarious:

~ Dorm with 500 people
~ Fraternity house with 60 dudes
~ Rented house with 9 dudes
~ Apartment with two roommates
~ Apartment by myself

It's the Nate Bargatze progression from "Count me in - I don't even care where we're going" to "I'll just drive separate" in five short years.

Because of my major, my college experience was a little different than others. The first year is a "normal" experience (electives, classes at Foellinger and DKH and the English Building or whatever) but first semester of sophomore year, for Landscape Architecture students, it's 0% electives, 100% LA classes. And they're all in the same room in Mumford Hall. So you don't "go to class." You just go to the same studio every single day.

Junior and senior year were similar (except you add back in your electives) but the classes were not in Mumford Hall. There were two houses on Nevada St. that housed the junior level LA classes and the senior level LA classes. Once Temple Hoyne Buell Hall opened in the fall of 1995 (my final year), all Landscape Architecture classes moved into the new building and the houses on Nevada were repurposed. The one house is now La Casa Cultural Latina and the other house is the Department of Gender and Women's Studies.

I'm telling you all of this because that classroom experience shades every part of my college experience. I lived in my fraternity house my sophomore year, but I tallied 19 all-nighters in the studio at Mumford Hall. And I wasn't there by myself. If we had a big project due, there would be at least 10 people pulling an all-nighter. If you were an ROTC student running down Gregory Drive at 5:00 am, that was us yelling stupid things out the window. The trash truck picking up the dumpster and emptying it over its head into the bed can be the most exciting thing at 3:00 in the morning. I hope that driver heard our cheers.

So my answer to "where did you dine the most on campus?" is 100% "the convenience store next to Timpone's on Goodwin in Urbana." My third and fourth year I walked from those two houses on Nevada to that convenience store to get food at least... 150 times? Probably way more than that.

I guess I don't really have an answer to "study spot" because almost all of my studying happened in one of the LA studios. I had roommates, but I spent more time with the LA students than I did with my roommates. For those classes, we didn't really "study." We drew things. Or we built a model of something. There was very little "study for a test."

I'll tell one story and then I'll get to the other stuff. I can remember the exact moment when I decided to go five years instead of four. In the fall of 1993 (so the start of my junior year) I was really up against it. Behind in a few classes, stressed to no end (the 0-3 start to the football season didn't help), and to make matters worse, there was a professor on sabbatical so the department head had stepped in to teach one of his classes. His class was... impossible.

As I was struggling with an assignment one night in the studio (I think it's used as a dance studio now for La Casa but back then that long classroom building right on the sidewalk just east of the Delta Gamma sorority was the junior Landscape Architecture studio) and I was venting to a girl named Holly seated next to me. Holly said "why don't you just drop the class, switch to the five year plan, and take it again next year when the regular professor is back?"

I immediately (and I mean immediately) stopped what I was doing, said "that's exactly what I'll do", called my parents when I got back to my apartment, and headed to C.O.'s. Switched up my schedule the next day and didn't take more than 12 hours the final five semesters. I was going to flunk out and I knew it. Her idea saved me. It's how I have a diploma.

But since I mentioned C.O. Daniel's there, I can now talk about bars. And I should note: just because my weeknights were spent at the studio doesn't mean my weekends were spent in my apartment. Remember the whole "on academic probation twice" thing I mentioned above? That wasn't because I was spending too much time at the studio.

If I made a list of the bars I frequented the most from 1991 through 1996, I'm guessing it would be...

  1. C.O. Daniel's
  2. KAM'S
  3. Gully's
  4. Cochrane's
  5. Deluxe

That was harder than I thought it would be. I did spend some time at R&R's. And at Murphy's. And White Horse. And a couple nights at O'Malley's. Maybe I should just mention the "black hole" bars for me where, for whatever reason, I never visited. That would include...

  • Illini Inn (no idea why - I'd go up the stairs for late night pizza but I don't think I ever had a mug club number even though if you asked me, I'd say "I can't remember" because I'm a poseur.)
  • Bub's (now Red Lion again - just never went there.)
  • Joe's (again, no idea why - just didn't have any friends who said "let's go to Joe's tonight.")

Several guys in my fraternity house worked at CO's so that was the bar. And if you're at CO's, you stroll next door to KAM'S to take a lap. So those two would clearly be #1 and #2 for me.

It won't surprise you to learn that I was "guy who was friends with a lot of girls" in college so that's why Cochrane's is on the list. Hey man, if you're gonna get perpetually friendzone'd, you might as well lean into it. There were also a lot of fraternity events at Cochrane's, so somewhere in a box at my mom's house you can find photos of me sweating on the dance floor.

As for Gully's and Deluxe, those were both phases during my last two years on campus. Gully's (it was later renamed The Library and is now a vape shop, I think) was convenience - I lived right there. I couldn't open my bedroom window on a weekend night because all I'd hear would be the revelers on the Gully's deck across the Boneyard. I guess I probably need to explain "Boneyard" for you young kids as well.

The Boneyard used to be exposed. Just a nasty, smelly creek running right behind all of the buildings on Green Street. Many a drunken student thought they could take a shortcut across the Boneyard and failed. Go to the streets where the creek flows through bridges/culverts because that jump wasn't worth it.

Gully's (and then The Library) was the bar right next to the Post Office. Except it wasn't the Post Office back then, it was Steak N Shake. And it was open late and it was glorious and NOW THEY'VE RUINED EVERYTHING because the Steak N Shake is a post office and Gully's is a vape shop. But at least Bamba is still there right down the street OH NO IT'S NOT THESE KIDS GO TO CHIPOTLE INSTEAD SO BAMBA IS OUT BY THE INTERSTATE I HATE EVERYTHING.

Where was I? Gully's. Gully's is 3rd on my list because of that year living right there. Deluxe is also on my list because when you're a 5th year student you say things like "I don't want to go to KAM'S where all the teenagers hang out I want a real bar with real pool tables" so you'd go to Deluxe. But then they tore THAT down to build Legends because nothing on earth is sacred.

It just hit me that no bars from my list are there anymore. KAM'S is still open but it moved to 1st and Green. C.O.'s closed down (and the space is gone because of the same apartment tower that replaced KAM'S). Gully's is a vape shop, Cochrane's was town down and is now a sushi place, and Deluxe, which was totally freaking awesome and looked like this...

Photo credit: Champaign Urbana History Facebook page
Photo credit: Champaign Urbana History Facebook page

...was then torn down and replaced by Legends. I didn't expect writing this would make me sad, but here we are. I mean, you can't even go for a Triple Crown anymore. What's the Triple Crown? I'll tell you.

Before Murphy's closes the kitchen (I think it was right at midnight back then), you'd eat an entire Murphy Burger. Then you walk down to Skylight Court and eat a super burrito from La Bamba. And then you'd need to know someone who had a car (and was sober) because you'd drive out to the Homestretch Restaurant at Bloomington Rd. & Prospect and you'd eat an entire Haystack. You had to finish it all in one hour.

I guess students today could still pull that off. Homestretch is closed/torn down but you can get a 'stack at Merry Anne's. And La Bamba is no longer on campus but it's still open out at Mattis & Church by the interstate. So with Merry Anne's and Bamba open late one could theoretically do the Triple Crown in 2024. Wait, what's stopping me from doing that tonight? Besides, like, my wife and the fact that I no longer have a gallbladder?

Be right back...