ARAPAHOE COUNTY, COLORADO
The Arapahoe County, Colorado, Hospital was renamed the Denver General Hospital in 1912 when the county hospital and city health department fell under the same jurisdiction. The health needs of the hospital began in 1858 with the settlement of goldseekers on the east bank of Cherry Creek. Scores of settlers arrived each week exhausted, sick and without funds after their grueling trip across the prairie. Prospectors who failed to strike it rich in the hills - and they were the majority - returned to Denver for help when their stakes ran out. Lack of a stable government for the merged Denver-Auraria settlement along Cherry Creek led to rule by vigilantes and a people’s courts in an attempt to control the claim wars, murders, and gun fights. In June, 1860, a pair of newly arrived physicians, Dr. John F Hamilton and Dr. O.D. Cass, opened the first City Hospital for the indigent or infirmed at 16th and Wazee.(1)
In 1864, Arapahoe County assumed financial responsibility for the hospital operations. Dr. John Elsner was named in 1866 the first county physician. A little frame house at Ninth and Champa served as a 29-bed hospital. Beds were made of drygoods boxes because money was scarce and beds were high priced when all goods were hauled in by ox team. Mattresses were stuffed with dry grass gathered along the banks of Cherry Creek. Pillows were made of the cheapest cotton batting, and covers were mostly army blankets. Since gun toting was the custom, emergency cases were common. Hardly a day passed that the hospital did not receive some person suffering from a gunshot or stab wound.(1)
With the coming of the railroad to Denver in the early 1870’s , the influx of settlers to the West included many tuberculosis victims seeking relief in Colorado’s high, dry climate. Denver’s popularity as a health resort was to last for more than half a century, and later would result in a financial burden to local taxpayers and tragedy for many patients who arrived here destitute. By 1875, Denver’s population was estimated at 23,856. In 1880, the first building was built at todays present site of Denver General Hospital. Cottages housed patients with "loathsome diseases" (probably typhoid and syphilis).(1)
In 1891, the daily average census was 141 patients, with more than 1500 patients, two-thirds of them men, admitted during the year. The hospital recorded 35 birth during the year, and the principal diseases treated were consumption, pneumonia, rheumatism, typhoid fever, and insanity. About two-thirds of the cases were medical and the other third surgical. A complex of hospital buildings was built in the 1890s, one being the power plant smokestack which was 9-stories tall. In 1895, the average cost per day per patient was 71 cents. In 1910 the hospital acquired its first auto ambulance to replace the two-horse ambulance used since 1892.(1)
Because of the lack of room for Denver patients in the state asylum in Pueblo, Colorado, mentally ill patients were kept, sometimes for months, in the basement rooms of the old hospital building. In 1900 an Insane Detention Hospital was built to house 100 mentally ill patients. In 1927 the interior of the building was reconstructed to house medical wards.(1)
The information below was taken from records at the Colorado State Archives. Information may include: date of registration, name, age, sex, state or country of birth, year of immigration to United States, year of settlement in Colorado; if a previous Colorado resident and moved to Arapahoe County, Colorado county from which moved and year of arrival in Arapahoe County; dates of hospitalization (relief) and number of days.
The year of hospitalization and corresponding page and record numbers in the Colorado State Archives are as follows:
|Year of Hospitalization||Page||Record No.|
|June1895 through December1895||p. 1, record 1 through p. 35||record 12|
|1896||p. 35, record 13 through p. 109||record 33|
|1897||p.109, record 34 through p. 195||record 7|
|1898||p. 195, record 8 through p. 265||record 44|
|1899 through September1899||p. 265, record 45 through p. 311||record 27|
Many of the patients had extended or lengthy periods of hospitalization. For these cases, only the first record of entry and last record of entry in the record book is given with the extended period of hospitalization noted for example as: Smith, John, page x, record, x through Smith, John, page y, record z. All patients in the hospital were entered monthly in the record book.
Given below is the name of the patient, age, birthplace, 18__ year of United States immigration, page number and record number in the record book, and year of registration 18__ . State abbreviations were used for all states.
Information from these records may be obtained by contacting:
|The Colorado State Archives
1313 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80203
Phone (303) 866-2358
We do have search, handling and copy fees. Please contact us in order to find out the charges for your request.
|Last Modified March 17, 2011|