To The Editor:
I am a retired history teacher. I had 23 years in the classroom and joined the Washington Historical Society.
I was involved with the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial and thought I knew this area pretty well. I was cruising the internet about a month ago and I read an article on a Washington woman, Mary McLean. Everyone in Washington and the surrounding area knows the name Elijah McLean. He was one of the founders of Washington. He built a beautiful house close to the riverfront. But then his life changed when he turned 57. Why?
Because he and his wife had given birth to a baby girl and they named her Mary.
Mary received a great education. She was homeschooled until the age of 13 and then applied to Lindenwood University and was accepted. She had to take more courses so Mary transferred to Vassar College. She was always working her way toward a medical degree and was accepted to the University of Michigan Medical School.
She graduated in 1882 at the age of 22. Mary eventually moved to St. Louis and became the first woman doctor in Missouri. She held the post of assistant physician at the Female Hospital, and was the first woman to be accepted into the AMA, St. Louis Chapter.
She practiced surgery until 1926 and became a sponsor of the Emmaus Homes in Marthasville. During her lifetime she took many trips abroad to help poor people. Mary died in 1930 and is buried at the Presbyterian cemetery west of Washington. She was a true humanitarian.
The reason I am writing this is to put my “two cents” in when the powers that be decide to name the new bridge. I think they should consider Dr. Mary McLean or maybe the McLean Bridge after the McLean family.