Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 16:3 (Summer 1996). Copyright © 1996 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


One of the important elements in the development of a North American frontier community was a system of medical care. During the nineteenth century the work of all frontier professionals was dramatically facilitated by new means of transportation and communication. Mid-century frontier communities had direct contact with urban centers via the telegraph and could acquire supplies over railroads and improved roadways. The development of a medical care system in Leavenworth, Kansas, during the second half of the nineteenth century illustrates the important role that physicians and other health providers played in community building on the western frontier, as well as the ways community building affected medical practice.