|Cheyenne Mounain,just west of Pikes Pike Colorado at sunrise|
As previously noted there were women physicians who moved to and made Colorado their home during the 1870s. In Colorado Springs, a new town which began in 1871, was home to Dr. Julia E. Loomis. Family stories have her living there as early as 1876. Documents, such as ads in the local Gazette newspaper, show she definitely was living there by 1878. Dr. Loomis was an 1870 graduate of the Cleveland Women’s Homeopathic College. This institution was one of the women medical colleges that started up to offer education to women who wanted to pursue medicine. This and other women medical colleges is a result of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwood, her sister, Dr. Emily Blackwell, and Dr. Maria E. Zackrzewka who began a hospital in 1856-1857 in New York, and offered hands-on education and experience to women in a practical setting Although Dr. Loomis may have been practicing medicine prior to her two years at Cleveland’s college, that she went to school after the death of her only daughter at the age of 52, shows a desire to be more, to also be one of the women who could and would practice medicine as the men did.
|Headstone for Dr. Julia E. Loomis- Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs, CO|
Manitou Springs, a near neighbor and also new town, had Dr. Harriet Leonard. Like Dr. Loomis, family histories place her in the region in 1876. Dr. Leonard graduated from the Keokuk School of Physicians and Surgeons in Keokuk, Iowa. This school was the first co-ed schools in the nation. Originally located in LaPorte, Indiana, in 1849, the school moved to Keokuk and began classes in November 1850. The school was the Medical Department of the State University of Iowa, located in Iowa City, Iowa. As a result of this association, when the University became the first publicly supported university to be co-educational in 1870, the school in Keokuk, by mandate had to accept female students into the medical program.
|Headstone for Dr. Harriet Leonard, Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs, CO|
These two women were shortly joined by Dr. Esther B, Holmes, 1878 and Dr. Clarabel Rowe, 1879. Dr. Holmes was born in 1844 in Rhode Island. Dr. Rowe around 1833 in Massachusetts. Dr. Rowe received her license in 1881 and Dr. Holmes 1882, shortly after Colorado started its licensing process. Dr. Rowe was also active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, giving talks and traveling on behalf of the organization. Dr. Holmes, who remained in Colorado Springs, was fondly known as 'the baby doctor'. Were these women and Dr. Loomis friends? Quite possibly. The death card for Dr. Loomis was signed by E. B. Holmes. In 1888 Dr. Rowe and Dr. Holmes traveled together on a trip through Southern California.
While Dr. Loomis was building her practice and taking care of her extended family, Dr. Leonard was working as the proprietor at the Manitou Spa. As far as records of any other female physician preceeding Dr. Loomis or Dr. Leonard in the Pikes Peak region, none have been found. Of the four women who were pioneers in the Pikes Peak region, only Dr. Rowe moved away. After the death of her husband, Dr. Rowe, moved to California.
Doris McCraw, pen name Angela Raines is an Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Colorado and Women's History
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