Centennial of Pietrzycki Cornerstone showcases namesake's remarkable life


April 27, 2023

-Chronicle photo

Everyone enjoyed some cake and punch in the High School Commons, in the midst of a place that, today, is a legacy to Dr. and Mrs. Pietrzycki's vision and dedication to helping the children of Dayton and Columbia County.

DAYTON–A throng of Dayton and Columbia County residents turned out to an Open House at Pietrzycki High School April 20 to soak in the history and legacy of a man whose 30-some-odd years in the region were marked with inspiration, tragedy and success–Marcel Pietrzycki, M.D. Organizers estimate between 150-200 people passed through the doors to enjoy the Pietrzycki Cornerstone Centennial commemoration.

The evening Open House started off at 5:30 p.m. with visitors invited to roam the hallways and classrooms of Pietrzycki High School, enjoy a hot dog courtesy of the Dayton Kiwanis Club, and partake of a piece of cake and punch in the Commons.

A display of artifacts and historical information related to Dr. Pietrzycki and his life was set in the library, along with a table for the Dayton Alumni Association.

At 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., the Career and Technical Education program presented a Forecast, by Ms. Crane and Mr. Pearson, in the VoAg Building. Highlighting that event was an newly acquired interactive touch screen display, 66 inches large. The equipment allows the instructor to access files, graphics, spreadsheets, the World Wide Web and other educational resources in the process of conducting a lesson.

The Pietrzycki Drama, written and performed by the Seventh and Eighth Grade Drama Class, was staged in the Auditorium at 6 p.m. It included five vignettes of Dr. Pietrzycki's life in and around Dayton and Columbia County. Introductory to the performance was a comprehensive biographical review of Dr. Pietrzycki's life and legacy, presented by Scott Archer, secretary of Waitsburg Lodge No. 16, Free & Accepted Masons. Dr. Pietrzycki was a Mason, a member of the Columbia Lodge, which was later merged with Dayton's Lodge.

Pietrzycki was born in Galacia, a Polish province of Austria, on April 25, 1843. He emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 23, spending time in Pennsylvania, Missouri and California. He graduated from Pacific Medical College in San Francisco in 1872, practiced in that state a few years, married Mary S. Warren, and moved to Dayton in 1880, where he lived, worked and contributed to the betterment of the community until his death on September 13, 1910.

One of his legacies was correctly diagnosing an outbreak of small pox a year after his arrival. Dayton sustained 100 cases of small pox and 11 deaths, and outside the City Limits, 67 cases and 10 deaths

-Chronicle photo

With the portrait of Dr. Marcel Pietrzycki gazing across the library and its tables full of historical information, individuals from the community pause to take in the reams of documents, photos and authentic historical items gathered for this celebratory event.

His will provided $4,000 for the protection of the park, and other specified beneficiaries, leaving the remainder of his estate, some $140,000, for construction of a school building and an endowment. The cornerstone was laid by the Masonic Lodge on April 20, 1923, and the present structure built at a cost of $120,000, which included $60,000 from the Pietrzycki Estate and the balance by a bond issue.

In 1953, the Pietrzycki Fund contributed $60,000 toward construction of a new vocational building.


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