The NSHS is pleased to announce that the Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte House, 100 Taft Street in Walthill, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This two-story home was built by Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte (c. 1865 – 1916) in 1907 for herself and her two sons. The nomination recognizes Picotte’s contributions to the history of Walthill and the Omaha Nation from 1907 to 1911.
Picotte, a daughter of Omaha Chief “Iron Eye” (Joseph La Flesche) was the first Native American woman physician. NSHS National Register Coordinator Jessie Nunn writes about Picotte’s remarkable life in the current issue of Nebraska History News (click the link and go to p. 2).
The following is adapted from the state historical marker in Walthill, with some images from our collections:
She returned to the Omaha Reservation to serve both the Native American and white communities as a physician, civic leader, Native American rights activist, and outspoken advocate of public health and sanitation. A dedicated physician despite a painful disease that diminished her own health, Dr. Picotte was known for keeping a lighted lamp in the window of her home to welcome patients in the night.
In 1913 she fulfilled her goal of establishing a hospital to serve the community of Walthill and surrounding area. The hospital, which now houses the Susan La Flesche Picotte Center, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 and named a National Historic Landmark in 1993. Click here and scroll down to see what the building looks like today, along with other National Register sites in Thurston County.
Picotte recorded her activities in a diary, a detail of which is shown above. To learn more about Dr. Picotte, see the biographical article at NebraskaStudies.org, or this guide to our extensive archival collection of La Flesche family materials.
David Bristow, Associate Director for Research and Publications