Peterson Elementary

9710 W. Central Ave

It all started in the year 1875 when Daniel Peterson donated some of his farmland for a school. It is believed the very first school was a shed-type building which was probably used until 1898 when a new building was erected and named in honor of Daniel Peterson. This white frame structure was used until 1931 when the school moved into what today is affectionately called “Little Red.”

By 1952, the student population had outgrown the school.  Kensler, Benton, and McCollom were built to ease the congestion. The school district was annexed by the Wichita Schools in 1960.

Peterson School
Courtesy: The Wichita Beacon November, 15, 1955

Additions were made in 1955, 1958, 1959, 1976 and 1987. The last addition included 11 classrooms, a P.E. office, an enlargement of the gym and a new office.

Daniel Peterson was born on October 19, 1848. Originally named Arons Daniel Persson, he emigrated from Sweden in June 1866 along with his parents.

He married Carrie sometime in 1869. She was originally married to Daniel’s brother, Eric.  But Eric passed away in 1868.

I found a reference to Peterson in the Wichita Eagle stating he was at a reunion of an organization called the Old Settlers Association of Sedgwick County.

In 1909 Mr. and Mrs. Peterson retired from active farm life and traveled for more than a year.

According to the “Catholic Advocate;” “In 1903 Christine Johnson died leaving one son and four daughters and an estate worth about $4,500 dollars.  Johnson wanted a specific woman to live in the home and raise the children.  But a probate judge was worried about the estate and appointed Mr. Peterson and his wife who ‘had raised nearly a dozen children of their own.’  The Petersons took four of the kids and a neighbor took the fifth one.”

By 1916, Peterson’s “efficient management of the property” was still valued at $4,500. 

That same year he ran for County Commissioner, Peterson came in third in the race.

Peterson for Commissioner Advertisement
Courtesy: The Catholic Advance May 27, 1916

Peterson died early in the morning on June 9, 1921.  Carrie joined him in 1922 at the age of 81.  They are both interred at Highland Cemetery.

The April 2000 bond project brought a new library and five more classrooms to the school.

Check out Wichita’s other public schools: Be True To Your School

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