Dr. Marie Ames and Her 100 Year Old House

Written By: nppladmin - Jan• 29•21
Originally published to Facebook.com/NorthPlattePL on January 29, 2021.

TGIF! It’s Time for our Friday History Series! Today, we are talking about Dr. Marie Ames and her 100 year old house.

On April 12th, 1921, the North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune announced that Dr. Marie Ames approved a contract to have a house to be used as both her residence and medical office, to be built at: 310 East Fifth Street, North Platte. The newspaper said the cost of the two-story home would be $5,500. The first floor was her private residence and the second floor would be her medical practice offices.

As you can see in the photograph, the house was located across the street from the Fox Theater on the south side of the street. This is a relatively unique photograph, as it is rare to run across photographs of residential areas before they were taken down to put up businesses (reconstruction). Thank you to Jim Griffin and the Lincoln County Historical Museum for sharing this photo.

The house had two staircases attached to the house for her business. The front staircase (on the side of the house) was for her respectable customers. The back stairs were for the girls from the “houses” and persons needing medical attention “off the record”.

Dr. Ames received her degree from the John A. Creighton School of Medicine (now Creighton University) in 1894—the first woman physician in Nebraska. She and her husband were both doctors and settled in North Platte in 1905. In 1913, Dr. Ames and her husband divorced.

Dr. Ames had a pretty good business until 1913 when she performed an abortion on a woman in Kearney, Nebraska, resulting in the woman’s death. Charges were filed and the case was heard by the Nebraska Supreme Court. All charges were dropped against Dr. Ames. Then again, in 1925 and 1927, charges were brought against Ames for continuing to perform illegal abortions. Charges were dropped in both of the cases as long as she gave up her medical license. Which she did. Her career as a physician was over.

On December 27, 1935, the Evening Telegraph announced that Dr. Ames had a fire in the basement of the house. She lived in the house up until her death in 1937. The house remained at that location until 1948, when Sears and Roebuck bought that half of the block to put up a storefront. All the houses along that side of the block were auctioned off and physically moved to other locations around North Platte.

On October 21, 1948, the North Platte Telegraph ran this story in the paper: “The moving of a house may be just another job to the fellows of the brawny muscles, who sweat and slave and work their brains over the big problem, but, to passerby, it’s a mighty fascination operation, judged from the crowd that gathers to watch the moving of a house at 310 East Fifth street. To get a job on the crew, one should be an engineer, a carpenter, a mechanic and a weight-lifter.”

The house still stands today in the location it was moved to in 1948; and in April 2021, the house will be 100 years old. This house sits in the 600 block of west B Street.

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