We learned this week that the elementary school under construction in South Kalispell will be named after Jeannette Rankin, Montana’s first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.
While there were a number of strong suggestions for the school’s moniker — including Demersville, Lone Pine and Gene Boyle — we can find no fault in the final selection.
Rankin Elementary will stand as just one of two schools in the district to be named after a woman, the other being Peterson Elementary. It was also 100 years ago this year that Rankin began her term in the U.S. House. The 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote nationwide would not be ratified until three years later.
Having Rankin’s name emblazoned on a school will offer a good opportunity to teach the next generation of her legacy in Montana, as an activist, pacifist and trailblazer.
We look forward to welcoming Rankin Elementary into the district when it opens next fall.
‘Mayor’ earned the title
The North Fork of the Flathead River is one of the most scenic, rural places in Northwest Montana, thanks in large part to decades of dedication and perseverance by one of its most iconic residents, John Frederick. He died Wednesday at 74, leaving a legacy of environmental advocacy. Often referred to as the ceremonial “Mayor of Polebridge,” Frederick was one of the founding members of the North Fork Preservation Association in 1982. The association opposed paving the North Fork Road and went the distance to protect the area from proposed coal mining operations in Canada.
Frederick was passionate about preserving the natural sanctuary the North Fork is for so many outdoor enthusiasts. His involvement extended to many organizations such as Headwaters Montana and the Whitefish Range Partnership. And let’s not forget he managed to make a living off the land he loved. He opened his North Fork Hostel in 1979 and ran it for nearly 30 years, offering hospitality to all who stayed there through the years. Frederick did his part in preserving the specialness of the North Fork. Now it’s time for others to pick up where he left off.