The Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte House, located at 100 Taft Street in Walthill, is a two-story home was built by Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte (c. 1865 – 1916) in 1907 for herself and her two sons. In 2010 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of 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. The following is adapted from the state historical marker in Walthill, with some images from our collections:
Dr. Picotte was the daughter of Mary Gale and Iron Eye, also known as Joseph La Flesche, the last traditionally recognized chief of the Omaha tribe. She was educated at the Elizabeth Institute for Young Women in Virginia and The Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, where she graduated first in her class in 1889. 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.
Historic photo of the house.
Modern photo of the house.
To learn more about Dr. Picotte’s remarkable life, check out the April 2010 issue of Nebraska History News.
This guide to our extensive archival collection of La Flesche family materials should also prove helpful.