By Lane Gwinn
The Times 

Early Pioneer's estate was cornerstone to HS


DAYTON—One of Dayton’s early pioneers and generous benefactors was an immigrant from Poland. Dr. Marcel M. Pietrzycki (Pit-rus-kee) settled in Columbia County, Washington, in the 1880s. The year after arriving in Dayton to start his medical practice, he helped fight the smallpox epidemic of 1881.

Pietrzyski was familiar with the disease and, after diagnosing a patient, warned the community of the dangers. Other doctors had misdiagnosed the patient as having chickenpox. It took weeks before other physicians confirmed the smallpox outbreak.

The Dayton sheriff John Mustard named Pietrzycki as the first health officer for the city during the epidemic. Under his guidance, the town was placed in quarantine for ten days. The grateful community credited his cautious handling of the outbreak with stalling the spread of the disease.

He was on the boards of several medical societies and served as the mayor of Dayton.

Before he died, he donated land to the City of Dayton to establish a city park. After his death on September 12, 1910, he left property and income from his estate to help build the Peitrzcki Memorial High School, now the Dayton High School. After his widow’s passing, their estate donated the family’s home to the school.

On April 20, celebrate the 100th anniversary of laying the Dayton High School’s cornerstone. Come to the high school to learn about the school’s history, take a tour, enjoy cake, and celebrate with students and the community.


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