Garlough Environmental Magnet School in 1958 and 2021

Then & Now: Garlough Environmental Magnet School

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Here’s a look at Garlough Environmental Magnet School in 1958 and 2021.

The History: 1958

Aerial view of Garlough School in 1958.
(Photo credit: Minnesota Historical Society by St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press)

Originally built in 1957, Garlough School was a little more isolated in those days. Dodge Nature Center didn’t exist then, though the Smith farm is visible at the bottom of the frame (the barn was relocated when the Dodge Nature Center Preschool was built in the 1980s). Kraft road didn’t exist either, nor did the neighborhood around Garlough. Charlton appears to be a dirt road and there’s nothing but farmland in the distance.

Garlough School is named for Herb Garlough, who served as superintendent from 1929 to 1955. During his tenure, enrollment in the district grew from 600 to more than 2,400. In 1948, he led the transition from the city’s School District No. 2 to today’s ISD 197, incorporating Mendota Heights, Mendota, Lilydale, Sunfish Lake, West St. Paul, and parts of Eagan and Inver Grove Heights.

Garlough Today

Garlough has gone through quite a few changes since 1958. There’s Dodge Nature Center across the street, with the preschool building visible near the bottom of the frame. Garlough Park, created in 1967, also surrounds the school with plenty of preserved woods and the disc golf course. Neighborhoods around Garlough are barely visible through the trees, but development along Robert Street and the water tower are perhaps the most dramatic changes.

The school itself has also expanded, with several construction projects over the decades and the last few years (the most obvious are the southern wing of the building and the new parking lot and entrance). In 2007, Garlough School became Garlough Environmental Magnet School, the first magnet school in the district. Sue Powell has served as the principal of Garlough since 2005.

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  1. What a neat picture. Our home is just across Marie and Garlough Park. What a difference 64 years can do to a landscape.

  2. Thank you for this fascinating comparison. I’ve been curious about how the school got its name. Now I know!

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