West St. Paul's Oakdale School in 1962 and Oakdale Park in 2020

Then & Now: Oakdale School

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A population explosion in West St. Paul during the 1920s led to two new schools, the Dodd School in 1929 and Oakdale School in 1930. Located on Oakdale and Roeller, the Oakdale School cost $49,500 to build. It held the city’s first gym, and kindergarten through sixth grade were taught in the school’s seven classrooms until 1979.

Oakdale School in 1962 (Photo credit: Dakota County Historical Society)

The building was rented out for a few years before being sold to a church in 1985 and housing another school. The church couldn’t keep up with payments and the building reverted to ISD 197 in 1989. The city declined to purchase the land from the school district and the district entered a purchase agreement with housing developers. The initial plans didn’t meet city code and angered local residents who wanted the land preserved for parks.

The school was ultimately torn down in 1990, with the land divided between a park and housing. The 1.5-acre Oakdale Park was created and 11 single-family homes were built.

The concrete sign from the original school building was saved and preserved in the park with a plaque noting that the building was dedicated by Governor Theodore Christianson on March 30, 1930.

Original Oakdale School sign in Oakdale Park in West St. Paul

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  1. We lived on Haskell street when I was a little boy. We were close to Oakdale school. I learned how to skate on the ice rink behind the school when I was 4 years old. In 1957, I started kindergarten at Oakdale school. I remember the first day, my mother walked me to school so I knew how to get there. After that, I was on my own. I walked to school and back home every day by myself after that.

  2. I grew up right across the street from this school and attended 1st and 2nd grade there (1978 – 79). Even if I wasn’t in school, I was usually still on school premises, playing on the playground, skating on the rink, or playing football with friends on the school’s front lawn. Fun times had by all!

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