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Does your college town suck? Iowa State University

A town built on lies and deceit...

New to the line up this season: we will be examining the various college towns of Wisconsin’s opponents. We’ll be answering all of the important questions – Is it a state capital? What is the population? Does it have a Culver’s?


City: Ames, Iowa

Size: 27.92 square miles

Location: 42°02′05″N 93°37′12″W

Population: 66,427 (2020)

State Capital? No

Time zone: Central

Landmarks: Hoggatt School, Farm House Museum, Reiman Gardens


Ames is known for its robust, stable economy, flourishing cultural environment, comprehensive medical care, top-quality schools, acres of parks and recreational opportunities, and the world-renowned Iowa State University.

Wow, all that and it still lost out on state capital to Des embarrassing.

Apart from all of that...Ames is a true college town. The population in 2020 was 66,427, while the Iowa State University was home to 33,391 in the fall of 2019, meaning that the school makes up about half of the city’s population.

Ames was named after Oakes Ames, who was a congressman from Massachusetts, who never set foot in the finished town. Ames began as a railroad depot on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad, with the town being founded by John Insley Blair.

Blair and Ames surveyed the land initially where Ames, Iowa would come to be, but the Massachusetts congressman left and never returned. Blair tried to purchase the land from its current landowners for is railroad, but they refused, because they did not want “the monster at their door.”

Per the historical society, the landowners at that time liked living in the country and did not want a town in their backyard.

After Blair struck out with the landowners, he turned to Cynthia Duff, who was a landowner in the area and someone of high social standing. I’ve seen enough western movies to know she likely owner a brothel. Or not, that’s just years and years of movies rotting and influencing my brain.

Duff that told the landowners that she herself was interested in buying the land for her “uncle back east,” and successfully gaslit those good people out of 320 acres. Duff then sold the land to Blair for $3,775, which was the same price she bought it for.

Ames was officially laid out on Dec, 17, 1864 by the John I. Blair Land Company.

L.Q. Hoggatt, who was one of the original landowners that was swindled out of his land eventually supported the railroad and the town. The Hoggatt School was built to serve residents and Hoggatt eventually served as sheriff of Story County.

Iowa State University was originally founded in 1858, as the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm – six years before Ames became a town. However, the first official class at the university started in 1869. Ten years later, they created the nation’s first veterinary medicine school, so thank you for the $460 bill I got for taking my dog to the vet on Friday.

In 1959, the school was officially renamed Iowa State University of Science and Technology, with the focus on technology leading to the first binary computer (the ABC), Maytag blue cheese (not sure I even want to know what that is), the round hay baler and more.

The Ames of today is highly regarded as one of the better places to live. Wall Street ranked it the best college town in America, it was No. 33 on Livability’s 2019 top 100 best places to live list, the No. 4 ranked best place for millennials to move by and it ranked No. 7 by Smart Asset as one of their top 10 cities for career opportunities in 2019.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, that is high praise, but several of those awards were awarded a couple years ago…it seems like Ames is holding on a little too tight to its past accomplishments.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to look forward, rather than back.


With Ames being the college town that it is, with nearly half of its population being the student body of Iowa State, there is a considerable nightlife scene.

Thanks to, we have a list of some of the best bars located on Welch Avenue, which is in the heart of Campus.

BNC Fieldhouse hosts Bachelor/Bachelorette nights, trivia nights, karaoke nights and comedy nights – featuring the Iowa State standup comedy club every other Wednesday. Must be a an uproarious good time, as many popular comedians come from Iowa…

If you’re into hitting the club after GTL-ing (Jersey Shore, am I right?), AJ’s Ultra Lounge, sounds like a bumping club, featuring three levels and an outdoor patio. AJ’s also has a large dance floor, where co-eds can gyrate their hips with abandon.

Apart from the college bar scene, Ames also has some other local establishments that attract fewer college students – Mother’s Pub, Time Out and One Night Stand. Although it seems like a place called One Night Stand would be more in a college student’s wheelhouse.

You know what is in my wheelhouse? Culver’s. And they got one.


The Cyclones call the 14,267-seat, Hilton Coliseum their home. The James H. Hilton Coliseum opened in 1971 and is the home to the men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the gymnastics and volleyball teams.

James H Hilton was the school President from 1963-65 and pushed for the stadium to be built. The Hilton Coliseum hosted the NCAA basketball tournament in 1972 and 1988 and the 1988 and 1933 NCAA wrestling championships.

Ames is also one of the hosts of this year’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament first and second rounds.

Does your college town suck?

While Ames seems like a lovely town, we have to remember it’s in Iowa and Iowa is not a great place. Have you ever driven through or into Iowa? There’s nothing there, just a bunch of corn fields. After two hours of driving, you realize you’ve only been driving for 20 minutes.

Literal hell on earth, in the heartland.

So, you’re college town sucks, but does your mascot?

Well, they are the Iowa State Cyclones, but their mascot is Cy the Cardinal…so, yes.

Apparently Iowa State is full of a bunch of quitters – they chose to go with a cardinal, because a cyclone was difficult to depict.

Meet one of the Omaha Storm Chasers mascots…

You mean to tell me that someone at the school couldn’t create a mascot that was shaped like a cone…?

After a feeble/non-existent attempt to make an actual cyclone mascot, Cy was introduced during a 1954 homecoming pep rally, following a contest which was conducted to determine the name of the cardinal. Seventeen people submitted ‘Cy’ to the contest, but Mrs. Wilma Ohlsen thought of it first and won a cardinal and gold blanket. Hooray…

Cy is an anthropomorphized cardinal, surely to strike fear into the hearts of those afflicted by ornithophobia.

Cy is rather jacked and has put some muscle on those hollow bones over the years. He has feet that closely resemble that of a real cardinal, so kudos to them for that, and a face that closely resembles the coloring of a cardinal, but they completely lost me on the teeth.

Birds do not fucking have teeth!

What is it with Iowa and their bird mascots having teeth? Open a book, do a Google search, do something!

While I am sure the smile, which is highly unnatural, was supposed to be inviting, it actually turned out pretty damn maniacal. However, I do have to say that it is an improvement on their previous version of Cy…

Definitely looks like he would murder you if given the chance, like most birds I have met.