Having grown up on three farms in southeastern Iowa, it came as no particular surprise to me to discover that Park College had a Missouri River overlook called Alfalfa Point. It was a name left over from Park's days as a student industries campus when students contributed to farming among other student-run operations. All students were required to have a campus job to help offset the cost of their college education at Park.
While I was at Park, a favorite activity was walking from the main campus, past the dorms, gymnasium and several homes in faculty housing, and then up a lane to reach a broad meadow with an overview of the Missouri River in it valley. To the east of Alfalfa Point, in a part of the campus's 800 acres of college-owned woodland, was Falling Springs, a limestone outcropping where water fell in a quiet setting.
Here are diary excerpts in which I wrote about Alfalfa Point, Falling Springs, or both:
Sunday, September 17, 1961: This evening several of us hiked to Alfalfa Point. t's a magnificent view.
Thursday, November 23, 1961: Vivien and I walked up to Alfalfa Point this afternoon. It was inspiring and relaxing to look out over the Missouri.
Tuesday, January 30, 1962: I went for a walk with Gloria. We went up to Alfalfa Point (I've now seen it snow-covered) and then started looking for fossils and geodes on the hill above the highway.
Sunday, February 4, 1962: Falling Springs will always be one of my fond memories of Park College. On this beautiful Sunday afternoon ten of us freshman girls walked up to Alfalfa Point and on to Falling Springs. The water was rushing over the falls today. Bob L. with his bow and arrows and John M. with his guitar came past after we got there. They had seen us on our way over. Terry W. and Ken R. came down, too.
Friday, October 20, 1962: Becky, Josie and I hiked to Falling Springs this afternoon. We tried flying my kite on Alfalfa Point but the string broke. We forgot that we had left it there until we were almost back. Becky may pick up the string if she returns for some botany specimens.
Sunday, April 22, 1962: My first Easter away from home proved enjoyable. Nancy Ayres and I got up at 4:30 to go up to Alfalfa Point for a sunrise service. However, just as we got there it began to pour. There were twelve students and President Morrill there. We decided to call it quits and move to the Meetin' House. Since we were soaked, Nancy and I came back to Hawley instead.
Sunday, September 16, 1962: Another of my little worlds was shattered today - as if I should be idealistic. I walked up to Alfalfa Point with Chris H., a freshman farm girl from Ohio. Three Park guys were up there drinking beer in a sports car. But then I got to thinking "such is life" and maybe I'm getting into more of the true college spirit. I've been making myself conform to a "sheltered" life but have been opening up.
Sunday, November 4, 1962: This afternoon I went with Bev and Jean to show them Alfalfa Point and Falling Springs. There wasn't much water running today. And the foot path has been made into a lane which spoils the seclusiveness of the place.
Sunday, September 15, 1963: Since we didn't feel like studying after dinner, Evelyn and I took a walk up to Alfalfa Point and came back on the road through the woods. I took several pictures. It was a beautiful day.
Sunday, March 29, 1964: I enjoyed this Easter day. To begin with, Evelyn and I went up with a group of students, the Pattons, Gehrenbecks and Edwardses to Alfalfa Point for a sunrise Easter service. The bright orange ball did rise indeed - a beautiful sight. The Stephens cat went along but no one thought too much of it when he didn't return with us. So at 5:45 this evening Shirley and I set out looking for him. After calling his name, "Here, Socrates!" and walking for an hour, he appeared just as we were giving up hope - and the orange sun was setting on the opposite side of Alfalfa Point.
Sunday, October 4, 1964: Evelyn and I took advantage of this outstanding fall weather and walked to Alfalfa Point and Falling Springs this afternoon. The leaves are gorgeous this year.
About the diary writer
- Barbara McDowell Whitt
- Kansas City, Missouri, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
- ~ About: A 1961-65 Park College Diary ~ As a high school girl and then a college coed in the first half of the 1960s, I wrote nightly entries on the pages of one-year diaries. In January 2010 I began transcribing the entries into a blog and gave each one a title. I grew up on three farms within 30 miles of Iowa City and the University of Iowa. As the oldest of four daughters, in my diaries I sometimes referred to my sisters as "the kids" or "the girls." We helped our parents, but we also had good, wholesome fun - a characteristic I took with me to Park. Park is 300 miles from West Chester, Iowa in Parkville, Missouri, on the Missouri River 10 miles northwest of Kansas City, Missouri, and across the river from Kansas City, Kansas. In 2000 Park College became Park University. Today Park's flagship campus is in Parkville and there are an additional 41 campus centers across the nation. Park was one of the first educational institutions in the United States to offer online learning. Beginning in August 2015, 50 years after I wrote my last entry in a one-year diary, I've written Park-related blog posts to keep A 1961-65 Park College Diary current.