History of Pennoyer School District #79
During the 1830's, the Pennoyer family came from New England and settled in what is now known as Norridge. The land they settled laid between what is now East River Road and Cumberland Avenue. In 1838, men from the community met at the home of John Pennoyer to discuss the plans for the development of a school. The school began in 1839, in his home. John Pennoyer had a daughter Susan, and two sons, Stephan and James. James and Susan taught Native American farmers in their home for one year until a new school house could be built. John Pennoyer donated land for the one room school house located at Higgins and Canfield Roads. It was completed in 1841. The school was named after James M. Pennoyer. Susan was the first teacher at the new school.
In 1893, a new school house was built to accommodate the increasing number of students. In 1920, a third building, a two-room brick structure, was built on the same site to replace the old school house. In 1941, two rooms were added to the structure, making four rooms in all. I In 1950, four more rooms and an all-purpose room were added to Pennoyer School. In 1954, a vote was taken and it was decided to build a new school at the corner of Cumberland and Foster Avenue. Construction began a year later, and in 1956, rooms housing the first three grades were completed. Two years later, five additional rooms for students in the upper grades and an auditorium were completed to allow for the increasing enrollment.
In 1961, a kindergarten wing was added to the east of the building. Twelve new rooms were added in 1968, and in 1991, renovations of the existing building took place. The last addition to take place was the new gym and offices in 2001.
Educational excellence, continuity, stability, and family are words that describe Pennoyer School District 79.