Grand County Historical Association presents ‘Doc Susie’
Susan Anderson, M.D., aka Doc Susie, is one of Fraser’s — and even Grand County’s — most well known past citizens.
The old TV show, Doc Quinn: Medicine Woman, was based on the life of Doc Susie.
Doc Susie arrived in Fraser in 1907 and served as the community doctor for the next 50 years. Upon her arrival by train, Doc Susie settled in a small cabin in Fraser where she was prepared to either cure herself or die of a bad case of tuberculosis.
At first, Susie did not let the people of Fraser know that she was a doctor. Her first patient turned out to be a horse. (It was not uncommon for doctors to serve as the local vet and dentist too.) The owner of the horse was so elated by the recovery that he announced far and wide that there was a lady doctor in town!
As her reputation spread, Doc Susie was soon treating injuries and illnesses of the men and their families in the remote logging camps of Fraser. In the harsh winters Doc Susie would wear layers of woolen clothing as well as hip high boots with rubbers to trek through the mountains at sub-zero temperatures to treat the loggers and their families.
“I wear boots and long handle underwear just like everybody else up here … course, I don’t wear them when I go to Denver – they’d probably throw me in jail.”
Construction of the 6-mile Moffat Tunnel took place from 1922 to 1928. It was designed to replace the treacherous Moffat Road railroad line over Rollins Pass. Doc Susie mended those workers building the tunnel and also became the Grand County coroner.
Doc Susie continued her medical practice in Fraser until she suffered a stroke in 1956. She was moved to a nursing home in Denver where on April 16, 1960, Susan Anderson, MD, died at the age of 90. She is buried with her brother in the Cripple Creek Cemetery.
On Oct. 9, 1997 Dr. Susan Anderson was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. This honor goes to women who have made significant contributions to Colorado and who are part of the ongoing efforts to elevate the status of women.
Recent donations to Grand County Historical Association from family and neighbors are now on display at Cozens Ranch Museum.
“Doc Susie” will share these new rare items at her talk at Cozens Ranch Museum (77849 US Hwy 40, Fraser) on Friday, Aug.29, at 5 p.m. For information, call 970-726-5488.
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