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Fort Wayne College of Medicine

Fort Wayne, Indiana



Early catalogues of Fort Wayne College of Medicine have been digitized and placed on Internet Archive.  Pictorial History of Fort Wayne relates the beginning of the school. There is a 1904 summary in the Annual Report of the Indiana State Board of Medical Examiners.  Newspaper notices are rare.


Fort Wayne College of Medicine was organized by a group of five doctors headed by Christian B. Stemen, who later became the Dean of the college.  Classes began in 1879.  According to Pictorial History the school survived an early faculty split and criminal charges of grave robbing to become a leading medical college in the Middle West.


F.W.C.M. was a small school.  Matriculates averaged 23 per year.  Catalogues show graduation lists of around 10 per year—exclusive of honorary and ad eundem degrees.  The one-year program of 1879-80 became a three-year program and soon reached the Association of American Medical Colleges' prescribed four years by 1903.  So it is doubtful that total enrollment ever reached more than 75.  


F.W.C.M. students did clinical practice at St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Indiana State Hospital for Feeble-Minded Youth.  Since Fort Wayne was a major railroad center, students worked with the railroad hospital for railroad injuries.


F.W.C.M. held independent status until 1890 when it became the Medical Department of Taylor University.  But by 1893 it had once again become independent.  In 1905 it merged with two other medical colleges to become Indiana Medical College, the School of Medicine of Purdue University. 


In “Educating Woman Physicians: A Fort Wayne Tradition,” Peggy Seigel notes that F.W.C.M. was a pioneer in educating women doctors.  Mary Anna Priest was a member of the school’s first graduating class.  Harriet Stemen Macbeth, daughter of the Dean, was an 1893 graduate.  She became a prominent Fort Wayne physician.  Catalogues show that of the school’s first 143 graduates, 15 were women.

Hugh McCulloch Building (<>) accessed 11-16-2017

Bricks and Mortar

The first home for F.W.C.M. was a building on the southwest corner of Broadway and Washington.  This building was only two blocks from St. Joseph’s Hospital.  By the mid 1880’s, F.W.C.M. had removed to a three-story brick building on the west side of Barr Street, two blocks  from the court house.  It contained twice the space of the original building.  After three years on the Taylor University campus, F.W.C.M. moved to its final home at 616 West Superior Street.


The Hugh McCulloch mansion dated from 1843.  Built in the Greek Revivial style, it overlooked the St. Mary’s River.  When the F.W.C.M. took over the building, the interior was renovated to create classrooms.


Following the merger, The McCulloch building was taken over by the Fort Wayne Turnverein Vorwaerts.  The interior was again renovated to create a gymnasium.  In 1974 the building was placed on the National Historical Register.  It has since been totally renovated.



College Football Data Warehouse shows that F.W.C.M. played some football in its final two seasons.  The 1903 team lost a game to Ohio Northern University 30-6.  The 1904 team played Ohio Northern twice, losing 75-0 and 18-0, and also lost to Heidelberg 17-0.

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