SUSAN ANDERSON, M.D. is undoubtedly the most recognizable figure from Fraser's past. She is just one of several local notables whose lives are highlighted in a photo collection housed at the Fraser Visitor Center. The Center is also home to a collection of sculptures. These sculptures comprise the subject of the Walk Through History Park; which was conceived to teach history through art.
Doc Susie's life story as a female pioneer physician is a fascinating one. Virginia Cornell provides a historically accurate account of this life story in her book entitled Doc Susie - The True Story of a Country Physician in the Colorado Rockies. It is a wonderful book to read if you are interested in learning more about Grand County in the early 1900s. Her story is an inspiration to young women who seek a career in the medical field. There has been some speculation as to what role her life may have played in the television series, Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman, but no direct connection has been established. There are many in Fraser who still remember this remarkable woman, who came to live in Fraser in 1907, at the age of 37. She thought she would die within the year of the tuberculosis she contracted while nursing patients in Greeley, Colorado. She died in 1960 at the age of 90.
David Moffat was a wealthy Denver businessman who saw the need for a rail link between Denver and Salt Lake City. He funded the majority of the rail which went over the top of the Divide. This route over "The Top of The World" was an unbelievable feat for its day. It involved boring numerous tunnels through solid granite, as well as constructing precarious timbered trestles that bridged deep mountain gorges. The remains of the roadbed comprise most of the popular summer driving route called the Moffat Road. The Needle's Eye tunnel, along the Moffat Road has collapsed; therefore, this route does not provide a vehicle connection to Rollinsville, Co. The Moffat Tunnel, a 6.2 mile long tunnel beneath the Continental Divide, made the link to Salt Lake City possible. Although Moffat died before the tunnel was complete, it was his effort to provide the link that made the tunnel completion a reality. The west portal of the Moffat Tunnel can be seen from the Winter Park Resort.
THE GERMAN POW CAMP existed in Fraser during the wartime years of 1945 to January, 1946 and provided much needed labor for the production of lumber. These particular prisoners were captured during the battle at Anzio beachhead in Italy and shipped to the main Colorado prison camp, in Greeley, Colorado. These enemy soldiers found peace and kindness at the mountain camp in Fraser. After the war, letters from Germans kept in the POW camp speak of the good, understanding people and of their prison time as an opportunity to learn about the free country of the United States. Some 200 prisoners loaded an average of 25,000 feet of lumber on rail cars every day. They were quick learners; doing all phases of the work, from horseshoeing to bookkeeping. For their hard work, they were paid 75 cents a day, which they could spend at their PX. They were also rewarded with trips to the local movie theater, allowed to form a dance band, utilizing handmade instruments, and were permitted to bake special German pastries. Examples of the beautiful inlay woodworking skills of the prisoners are on display at the Grand County Museum in nearby Hot Sulphur Springs.
To view more photos of Fraser's history, click on the following links:
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