Medicine Woman

Despite her fragile health and the chauvinism of the time, Susan Anderson brought compassion and competence to the medical profession in a still wild West. 

Rollins Pass, Moffat Road, 1906.
Rollins Pass, Moffat Road, 1906 © Bridgeman Images.

The narrative landscape of the American West is defined by stories of endurance, compassion and bravery in the face of seemingly impossible odds. In a small mountain town in the Rocky Mountains, Doc Susie Avenue owes its name to the woman at the heart of one such story. On a fiercely cold night nearing Christmas in 1907, Dr Susan Anderson arrived in the town of Fraser in Grand County, Colorado. Her pallid face and rattling cough told the railroad conductor that she was suffering from tuberculosis. When Anderson took up residence in a shack on the outskirts of the town, it seemed unlikely she would survive the winter. The possibility that she had stepped into the community that would be her home and her workplace for the next 50 years seemed as unlikely as her chances of recovery. 

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