- Last Updated: 09 September 2016 09 September 2016
Pettigrew Elementary School was named in honor of Richard Franklin Pettigrew
Sioux Falls is a vibrant city with a rich history. Many people helped shape into what it is today. One such person has been characterized as studious, hard working, and visionary. This man was intelligent and had a wonderfully attentive memory. He had a strong connection in the development work of the Dakota territory and the State of . He was a prominent politician, businessman, and community leader. He spent the majority of his adult life promoting and representing Sioux Falls and South Dakota.
Richard Franklin (R. F.) Pettigrew (July 23, 1848-October 5, 1926) was born in and moved with his parents to . R. F. Pettigrew engaged in farm work until he was sixteen years of age, receiving his education in rural schools. He attended college in and . He studied law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In 1869, Mr. Pettigrew came to Dakota as a part of a surveying party. In the spring of 1870, he made his home. Pettigrew worked tirelessly to build and promote . He practiced law and engaged in surveying and real estate. He was responsible for bringing all five early railroads through . Pettigrew was instrumental in convincing an eastern investor to finance construction of the seven-story, twelve-hundred barrel per day Queen Bee flour mill. As a U.S. Senator, he convinced Congress to appropriate funds to construct the Federal Courthouse and Post Office building in . He insisted that they be built of quartzite found along the . R. F. Pettigrew was a member of the first School Board in in 1873.
He was elected to the upper house of the legislature of and then was sent to the congress as a delegate for the territory. He was a member of the constitutional convention of 1883 and helped to frame a constitutional provision that was incorporated into the laws of the State of.
South Dakota was admitted to the in 1889 and R. F. Pettigrew was elected United States Senator. Mr. Pettigrew was reelected to the United States Senate for a second term and became a distinguished leader in the Senate.
Pettigrew loved collecting things. He was a world traveler and amateur archaeologist. He opened his own museum in the back of his house in 1925 to showcase his collections.
Pettigrew left his home to the City of in his will. The Pettigrew museum is designed to emulate how a person of Pettigrew’s stature would have lived at the turn of the century.
By naming the new school, R. F. Pettigrew Elementary, it will be bringing to life the historical beginnings of and as well as promoting the importance of education, leadership and service to others—all of which were characteristics of this man.
Peace Lutheran Church - Pettigrew's Business Partner
Since Pettigrew Elementary opened in the Fall of 2010, Peace Lutheran Church has been a business partner to the school. School business partnerships engage the business community with schools in their efforts to provide quality educational systems that prepare students for a changing world. Partnerships benefit businesses and enrich a school's involvement in the community.
Members of Peace Lutheran Church in SW Sioux Falls do much to support the students at Pettigrew Elementary. Several members are student mentors who meet with a student on a weekly basis during the student's lunch period. "Peace Angels" are members who support teachers every week by helping with duties such as copying, cutting, coloring, laminating, and sorting. The members of Peace Lutheran also support the staff during in-service days with breakfasts and treats. The Pettigrew staff loves their partnership with Peace Lutheran!