Colorado's Healthcare Heritage

Updates to Volume One — 1892

In 1892, Dr. George Miller Sternberg, 54, published his Manual of Bacteriology. Dr. Sternberg — who had received his MD in 1860 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York — was an Army physician who was considered by no less than Prussian bacteriologist Robert Koch to have been "father of American bacteriology."

While he was the US Army's surgeon general from 1893 to 1902, General Sternberg collaborated with Major Walter Reed, who worked for him, trying to control typhoid fever and yellow fever.

1892 — Cottage Home Hospital / Steele Memorial Hospital, Denver

Dr. Henry King Steele — the Denver city health commissioner — and his assistants, Henry Sewall, PhD, MD, and William Phipps Munn, MD, established Cottage Home Hospital for patients, particularly children, with communicable diseases. The hospital, which opened during Christmas week, 1892, was four small cottages at 7th and Cherokee, just north of the county hospital.
As late as 1892, whenever a homeless person was attacked with a contagious disease, such as measles, he was usually driven in an open wagon six miles across the plains to the isolation hospital on Sand creek. Many a nameless grave marks the terminus of those drives; though the death certificate only reported "pneumonia," the doctors knew that the winter winds had done the fatal work, while the patient was being transported to a place of safety.

Under the efforts of Dr. Steele cottages were purchased in a most convenient location and equipped for the care of cases of all ordinary contagious diseases except smallpox. This establishment, though still inadequate and unworthy of the city's needs, has again and again proved itself an indispensable and blessed retreat and is most appropriately named "The Steele Memorial Hospital." (Henry Sewall, PhD, MD, DMT, June, 1903, pg. 601)
Dr. Steele had founded the Colorado Territorial Medical Society in 1871, was professor of surgery at DU's Denver College of Medicine, and health commissioner (1890-1893) for the City of Denver.

Dr. Steele died on January 20, 1893, without ever having seen the quarantine hospital he had worked to build, but the name was changed to Steele Memorial Hospital. Mrs. Steele later paid for two additional cottages. By the turn of the century, there were seven cottages and a ten-room brick building.

Dr. William Munn was the State Board of Health's "executive sanitary officer," a position he held for six years.

Koch Hospital Sanitarium, Denver

In 1892, A. Josef Meuer, MD — who had just spent a year in Berlin studying the treatment of tuberculosis with Robert Koch (see 1882) — opened the Koch Hospital Sanitarium in Denver's Rosedale neighborhood.

Dr. A. Josef Meuer, Denver, Colorado Dr. Josef Meuer had been born in Russia and raised in the US. When he was 14, he began his studies at the College of the City of New York, and he received his MD in 1883 from New York University Medical College.

He then studied surgery at St. George's Hospital in London under professors including Thomas Pickering Pick, MD (1841-1919) — editor of the 10th through the 14th editions of Gray's Anatomy — and Timothy Holmes, MD (1825-1907), William H. Bennett, MD (1852-1931), and James Rouse, MD (1829-1895).

He subsequently studied for two years with anatomist Thomas Cooke, MD, FRCS — founder of the London School of Anatomy and Physiology and senior surgeon at London's Westminster Hospital.

Dr. Meuer returned from nearly five years in London in 1887, and practiced in New York City until 1889, when he moved to Denver.

In 1891 he spent a year in Berlin studying with Robert Koch. Dr. Meuer's 26-year-old nephew — medical student Samuel Herman Meuer, who had been with his uncle in Berlin — received his MD from Gross Medical College in 1895. The Koch Hospital Sanitarium in Denver was open for about three years.

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