Saco in York County, Maine — The American Northeast (New England)
Dr. Laura Black Stickney, 1879-1961
Saco Main Street Museum Walk
Dr. Laura Black Stickney promoted public health, women’s suffrage, and ran for mayor during her 50 years of Saco civic leadership.
Born September 8, 1879 in Porter, Maine, Laura May Black learned to read in a one-room school house, directly across from her family farm. From Porter she went to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, spending four years in classical studies with an eye on becoming a doctor. In 1900, Laura Black enrolled in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Boston, Massachusetts. It had been organized twenty years before and was open to women, although in Laura’s class of 26, only three were women. After graduation, Dr. Black spent the next two years interning at the North End Dispensary and Hospital in Boston.
She opened her first practice in Saco with an office on the second floor of the Odd Fellows Building on Main Street. Her hours were 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The following year, she moved her practice across the street to number 44 in the Masonic Building.
She was the first woman City Physician in Saco, and served in that capacity for many years. While in this position,
She joined the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, an organization with widespread influence in social reforms. This group of distinguished women instituted many “first” programs in the city – kindergarten, day care, summer programs for children, industrial arts classes, home economics classes and adult education. When Dr. Laura Black joined this dynamic group of women, she stressed the need for medical exams in schools, pointing out that many physical afflictions, if recognized and treated promptly, would enable the young learners to be educated to the best of their abilities. If ignored, these students could fail. For five years, Dr. Black conducted these exams, under the sponsorship of the E. & I. Union, until the city assumed the responsibility.
After she married Joseph Stickney, they purchased and renovated a house at 10 Cutts Avenue, creating a doctor’s office on the first floor and an architectural office for her husband above. She was then known as Dr. Laura Black Stickney.
She became a charter member of the Equal Suffrage Club of Saco. When the 19th amendment became law, she worked diligently for the Republican Party, locally and statewide.
Dr. Frank Trull, a well-known and respected physician in the area, died the same year she lost the mayoral election. It was he who, twenty years earlier, had purchased a mansion on May Street in Biddleford and turned it into the area’s first hospital. After much consideration, Dr. Paul Hill Sr. and Dr. Laura Black Stickney purchased Trull Hospital. After Dr. Hill’s death, Dr. Stickney became the sole owner of that facility, which she managed until she died, May 4, 1961.
In 1954, Saco Mayor Harry Warren presented her with the “Angel of Mercy” award in recognition of her half-century’s faithful service to the community.
[Photo captions read]
1. Dr. Stickney as a young woman.
2. Her Cutts Street office.
3. The published ballot for 1922 mayoral election.
4. The sign from her Cutts Street office.
5. Trull Hospital.
6. A newspaper ad from early in her medical practice.
Erected by City of Saco and the Saco Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public Work Education • Government & Politics • Science & Medicine • Women.
Location. 43° 30.036′ N, 70° 26.602′ W. Marker is in Saco, Maine, in York County. Marker is on Main Street (Maine Route 9) near Beach Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saco ME 04072, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jacob Cochran, 1782-1836 (within shouting distance of this marker); Samuel Brannan and the Gold Rush (within shouting distance of this marker); World War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Spanish War and Philippine Insurrection Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Sarah Fairfield Hamilton, 1831-1909 (within shouting distance of this marker); A Stone Fort (approx. 0.7 miles away); Fort Saco in 1693 / Le Fort Saco en 1693 (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Saco.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 15, 2018. It was originally submitted on May 26, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 615 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 26, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.