In 1882, after noticing many illnesses among its employees, Colorado Fuel and Iron Company officials built a six room hospital for them. Located at 544 East Abriendo Avenue, in Pueblo, it included accommodations for 30 patients. The hospital was named “Minnequa,” which our research leads us to believe is an Indian word meaning “quiet waters,” and may date back to General William Jackson Palmer’s experiences with the healing powers of hot springs in Pennsylvania.
Patient demands for more services required an expansion in 1897, and again in 1902, when a much larger structure was built on a tract of land between Orman and Lake Avenues. In 1929, after the death of its founder and chief surgeon, Dr. Richard Corwin, the hospital was renamed Corwin Hospital in his honor. This fully functioning CF&I medical facility included laboratory, X-ray, pharmacy, nutritional, obstetrical, dentistry, optometry and surgical offerings to patients and their families.
In 1948, after hearing of the good patient care at St. Mary’s Hospital, CF&I sold the hospital to the Sisters of Charity for one dollar. They took over full operations of the hospital, renaming it St. Mary Corwin a few years later, a name that remains to this day.
The Minnequa Works Dispensary, a smaller facility located on the steel mill property, treated minor illnesses and injuries, along with new employee physical exams. In 1901, the Minnequa Works Dispensary moved from its site in the plant to a building adjacent to the company’s new administrative offices along Canal Street. The six-room Spanish Mission Style building contained waiting, drug, consultation, surgical and storage rooms, in addition to sleeping and office quarters for attending physicians. In 1902, steel mill employees exceeded 5,000 workers and the dispensary handled an average of seventy-five cases daily. Today the former dispensary is the site of the Steelworks Museum.