Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Caroline McGill

Dr. Caroline McGill came to Butte in 1911 to work at the Murray Hospital, returned to Johns Hopkins to complete her medical degree, and turned down an offer to stay at Johns Hopkins to return to Butte in 1914. She practiced there until she retired in 1956. Dr. McGill was a highly skilled physician, but she was also a friend to her patients through Butte’s ugly labor management strife, fires, explosions, and accidents that were common in the mining town. She made house calls to the crudest of miner’s shacks where she ministered to families under primitive conditions. She once said, “I made up my mind that I would never offend one of these good women by seeming to notice that their standards of sanitation were not mine. I couldn’t abide the habit of some of my colleagues of dusting off a chair with a clean handkerchief before daring to sit on it.” Dr. McGill was a familiar figure in saloons where stabbings, gunshot wounds, fractures, and concussions tested her skills. She frequently visited the women of Butte’s sprawling red light district, calling equally at low-rent cribs and high-class parlor houses. Small, attractive, and full of energy, Dr. McGill was a cut above the rest.

Dr. Caroline McGill relaxes on the front porch of a guest cabin of her 360 320 guest ranch in Gallatin Canyon.
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives


  1. Dr McGill was the physician my parents took me to when I developed rheumatic fever at the age of six. My parents were Christian Scientists and it was a difficult decision for them to seek out a doctor. They chose the right one. She treated me at home with diet. I lost a year of school (that was ignored by my teachers - because they just put me in the third grade without ever seeing the second). Dr McGill's treatment seems to have been successful. I am now 72 and by all accounts very healthy. I am physically active and am now on my fourth career. And I owe a lot of this to Dr. McGill She was the greatest!

  2. Her ranch is actually the 320 Guest Ranch south of Big Sky, not the 360 Ranch - that's a private estate.