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  • Part four of a series - Intro/Part I here.

    Page - across L, down 7 & 8; across M, down 7 & 8

    University Heights was the name of a junior high school I went to for a month in seventh grade, but in Vandalia, University Heights is the college town in the mountains. When I was a teen drawing this all up, I had no idea what a college town was, I just wanted to have a school in the mountains. A Pine tree covered campus surrounded by mountain peaks. A ski team. Later on in my mid-twenties, after living in the college town of Chico, California, I went back and made University Heights the college town of Vandalia.

    University Heights has grown over the years, thanks to having some room to expand and the growth of the arts programs at Mountain State. In the 1960s the hippies began streaming in from all over the country, whether students or people getting out of the sprawl, and at the same time the school became known as a center of the arts, led by the writing program but soon encompassing the fine arts and now graphic design.

    When first founded, University Heights wasn’t even an incorporated city, but over the years as the school grew in stature there was incorporation and expansion. The city grew the most in the east and north-east, but new housing also was built in the north-west down by the river and a couple streets in the south. With incorporation, the city needed government and services, and these were built in the north between Jefferson Hwy. and Birch Rd.

    Some new businesses catering to students were opened up south of campus, Zig Zag Books, Righteous Records, Top Side Tavern, Woody’s Pizza. In the east an Italian restaurant/bar named Theresa’s opened, and this is the faculty hangout. Across the street is Ugly Bug’s Furniture, which was a business my friend Celeste wanted. As the arts program grew, one of the star faculty in the dance program left and opened up the Szpigiel School of the Performing Arts (this was a friend of mine in my mid-twenties, a Dance major). This has further enhanced both the cities and the universities importance to the arts in Vandalia.

    There needs to be a café. Since these last changes were made, I have become a café person. I spend a lot of time in cafés, they are where I work, they are wear I read, they are where I eat. If I’m going to live and teach history in this town, there needs to be a café. I’m going to do that now, across the street from Zig Zag Books, at 175 My St. I'll name it the Cowbird Cafe. Now where’s my pencil.
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