This post written and copyrighted by Doris McCraw
Context, it is where all the information fits. As I have talked about the early women doctors in the Pikes Peak Region, it is their stories I have told. Now, let’s look at the time and place that they were ‘working’ in. What was going on in the region between 1850-1900.
In 1853 or 1854 there was a large fire, possibly the largest fire during the 19th century, that burned through the Pikes Peak area. According the Cherokee, Who You, the fire was approximately 70 miles long and burned for three weeks. For those who would like to know more about this Herbert M. Sommers wrote a chronicle of the event in “The Story of the Big Burn of 1853-1854” published in 1965.
In Pueblo, Colorado 1854 saw the Ft. Pueblo Massacre. This town is about 40 miles south of Colorado Springs. There are many versions of what happened that Christmas day. For more information on what might have happened here is a link to one story. http://www.kmitch.com/Pueblo/elpueblo.html
I point these events out to illustrate how the area was not far removed from the ‘wild west’ that many of us think of. Colorado City was the first town of substance in the Pikes Peak region. It was platted in 1859 and became a stop for the “Pikes Peak or Bust” gold rush, as gold seekers headed for their El Dorado further west. This town, created for business, continued as the ‘working class’ town in the area after being bookended between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.
In 1871 Both Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs came into existence. Although both towns had great plans, Colorado Springs as a resort destination and Manitou Springs and a ‘health’ resort destination. That both achieved their goals is pretty amazing.
When Colorado Springs began, the post office was a soap box inside the Field and Hill store. Manitou was to have had large lots and chalets, but the panic of 1873 destroyed that idea. Still with the various mineral springs and the promotion by the various doctors, especially Dr. Edwin Solly, the area grew as a destination for various health seekers and travelers. http://www.uccs.edu/cragmor/colorado-medical-history/cragmor-sanitorium-physicians/edwin-solly.html
Canon City, 38 miles south and west of Colorado Springs, had the territorial prison, which began in 1871. http://www.canoncity.com/history-canon-city-fremont-county-colorado
Cripple Creek and Victor had their heyday beginning in the early 1890’s when the population grew to almost 20,000. This was the last big gold strike in the lower 48 and took place at altitudes from 9,000 plus feet above sea level.
There is so much more to tell, but this will give you and idea of what these women dealt with and perhaps why they took the chance to make the move to the area, to follow their dreams.
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