Henry R. Pattengill (1852-1918) was Michigan superintendent of public instruction from 1893 to 1897. As a textbook author, an orator and editor of Moderator-Topics, a journal for educators, he shaped Michigan's education system. He championed the creation of rural district libraries, free textbooks, compulsory attendance and teacher certification. Running as a Progressive, he lost his bid for governor in 1914.
Henry R. Pattengill began his career as the superintendent of St. Louis schools, and later of Ithaca schools. His experiences in rural Michigan education led him to advocate for its improvement during his tenure as Michigan Superintendent of public instruction. In 1924 his formal pupils and admirers donated 510 stones from around the world to construct this monument as a memorial to their beloved teacher, colleague and friend.