Photos from the Carleton College Archives: 1893-1972
Goodsell Observatory - c. 1900
#5 of 7
In Carleton's first decades, the time signals and publications emanating from its observatory did more than anything else to bring the school recognition beyond its immediate region. Carleton's first observatory was built in 1878. In 1887 the Goodsell Observatory, pictured below, was built to replace the old observatory, which was destroyed in 1905. The new building was named for Charles M. Goodsell, founder of Carleton College, in 1891. The astronomy program begun by Professor Payne in the 1870s was recognized as one of the most successful in the country. Goodsell Observatory made real contributions to the field under Payne and his successors Herbert C. Wilson '79 and Edward A. Fath '02. Carleton's telegraphed time signals were discontinued in 1931 and the telescopes of Goodsell were in time superseded by larger instruments elsewhere, but astronomy retains a special place in Carleton's history. It is fitting that when a Carleton student annual was first published in 1889, the editors turned to the heavens for a name: the Algol, after a variable star.