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Used courtesy of Pueblo City County Library District - Western Research Archives

Dr. Richard Corwin was born in Binghamton, New York on May 24, 1852.

As a child he was very interested in taxidermy and his father arranged for him to have an internship in New York City, to study in this field. He then used the knowledge he gained to help pay his way through school at Cornell as a taxidermist.

From the years 1871 – 1874 he attended Cornell University where he followed a scientific course of study but did not complete a degree. He moved to Michigan where he worked as the curator of the museum at Michigan State and also as an instructor of anatomy and microscopy at the university while he continued his studies, He received his M.D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1878 and went on to serve his internship at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois from 1879-1880. At this time Corwin was planning an expedition to South America, serving as a physician and naturalist, with a group of scientists, but the trip was cancelled and he was then offered the position at CF & I.

In April 1881 he moved from Chicago to Pueblo when he was offered the position as chief surgeon of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. When he first arrived in Pueblo on April 16th he was not met with open arms, but a small crisis that was ensuing. He spent his first day in the area assisting with the clean up and after effects of the dam on Minnequa lake bursting and the waters that flooded down and through the yet uncompleted buildings of the steel company. He was put in control of a group of men who tried to create an earthen barrier of dirt, rocks and other “trash” to try and stop the flood waters in their tracks. After spending his first day in this endeavor, we was able to begin the work he actually came to Pueblo to perform, that of the chief surgeon at CF & I.

At the time of his move to Pueblo, the hospital and medical department of CF & I consisted of a small house that had been converted in to an infirmary. This would eventually become, under Corwin’s tutelage and direction, a world renowned hospital and would extended to each mining camp in the form of a medical dispensary with a doctor and/or nurse to staff if on a regular basis, along with the work of the sociological department which was also formed under his direction.

However, by 1882 the small hospital building was completely overburdened with an outbreak of typhoid fever, and Corwin convinced the company that they needed a larger facility. CF & I joined together with the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad to provide such a facility. Throughout the next seven years, with many expansions, extensions and additions, the hospital could now house 80 patients and became known as the Minnequa Hospital.

In 1902 Dr. Corwin officially extended the work of the medical department to include that of the CF & I Sociological Department. The department was created to “bridge the gap for immigrants between the ‘old country’ and American and to improve the standards of living for all employees.” (Fry) They did this by continuing to expand the kindergarten’s throughout all the mining camps, creating permanent and lending libraries, and arranging for clubs and musical groups in Pueblo and the mining camps.

Dr. Corwin also served on the School District 20 school board for 44 years among numerous other educational and medical boards and associations. He was one of the main organizers of the McClelland Library in Pueblo and was president of the library board.
Used courtesy of Pueblo City County Library District- Western Research Archives

Dr. Corwin died in his sleep the night of June 19, 1929 at the age of 77.

After his death, Minnequa Hospital was renamed Corwin Hospital.