Friday, December 28, 2007

Postcard: Deaconess Hospital

Deaconess Hospital

Here's another vintage Grand Forks postcard. As most of you probably already know, Altru Hospital wasn't the first hospital to be built in Grand Forks. Grand Forks used to have two hospitals: Deaconess Hospital and St. Michael's Hospital. Buildings that used to function as hospitals in Grand Forks include the current UND Medical School building, Riverside Manor just off of Gateway Drive, and the old Deaconess Hospital building across the street from the Grand Forks County Courthouse downtown.

The above postcard shows a mid-20th century view of Deaconess Hospital. The structure in this postcard still stands in the south part of downtown and is currently used for office space. The first Deaconess Hospital building was built in 1892 and was the first hospital constructed in Grand Forks. Over the years, Deaconess grew to include the structure pictured here.

St. Michael's Hospital was first located in the building currently called Riverside Manor north of downtown. St. Michael's later moved to a new hospital building just north of UND. In 1971, St. Michael's and Deaconess officially merged and became known as United Hospital, but continued to operate out of two separate buildings. A new, unified hospital - United Hospital - was later built at Medical Park on Columbia Road. The old Deaconess building became an office building and the old St. Michael's by UND became the home of the UND Medical School. United Hospital officially became known as Altru Hospital on July 1, 1997.

Click here and here for more historical information regarding Grand Forks hospitals.


Anonymous said...

It was a beautiful building in its time, for sure. Sad to see the shape its in, now. Wonder why the downtown can't attract offices that would encourage better upkeep of the old Deaconess...or why several businesses or even private firms can't settle into the bank buildings downtown.

Seems like---if a couple of places were occupied, others would follow. The old "build it, they'll come" thing, I guess.

Depressing, though, remembering the vibrancy of the downtown, the character it offered, in contrast to the blase character of 32nd Avenue of today.

Liz said...

I actually just went back to Deaconess in November--someone was having a fantastic rummage/estate sale on one of the office floors. The building is exactly as I remember it from the early 80s when my dad worked at a law office located there.

I wish the building were being used to its full potential. The building has a great feel to it, and I love the location. I wish a big business would take it over and use it as office space. The last time I was there, the lights were on in a room in the basement, and all I could see was trash and half-clothed mannequins. Sort of disturbing.

Anonymous said...

The old Deaconess hospital downtown has to be the worst looking building. The only reason people stay there is because of cheap rent. That place could really use a facelift from the outside. The mission looks like a million bucks compared to it.

Anonymous said...

The building now housing the Med School on Columbia road actually continued to be part of United Hospital for several years after the new hospital was built south of the overpass. It housed several departments until they all relocated to the main campus. Eventually it was sold or transferred to UND. It was known as the North unit. I worked at Deaoness during college. It had a lot of nice history but now looks like cheap office space.

Anonymous said...

Amazes me, how a piece of property like that can go to ruin. The carpentry skills in dividing the various floors into office space looks like a freshman high school shop class completed the work.

The guy who owns it now is a man of character, too. Why he hasn't made a motion to fix the old Deaconess building up---and the clinic across the street---baffles one.

wannagrapple said...

aren't there any real pictures of the Hospital available for a postcard?! That pic on the front page looks like an artists rendering... as if the final product wasn't good enough to show on a postcard. hmmm.

ben said...

hey GFG - thanks so much for getting back into posting more original content rather than more open threads. I like the open threads a lot, but I prefer the content you have been posting rather than the opens. I know it is a lot of work to keep this blog up, and I certainly understand the open threads during the holidays!

Charlie said...

May I echo Ben's comments concerning the topical threads? It seems we need some direction, some guidance, if you will, to keep the postings from falling into the banel nature than runs so rabid in The Herald comment areas. A lot of work on your part, GFG, to be sure...but much appreciated!

RE: The old Deaconess Hospital...back in the 5o's, long before Department 56 collections, there was a most creative display of a Christmas village in the lobby of the Deaconess on South 4th Street. The setting created a warm holiday feeling, and I can still visualize what I first saw as a small boy so many years ago.

Thanks for sharing the postcards, bringing back some memories.

Charlie said...

banel=banal. Oops. :o)

Alex said...

Do you have any post cards of the structure that covered one of the downtown blocks?

The downtown in general interests me as well.

Anonymous said...

Too bad it couldn't with the Northland Mission as a residence hall, half-way housing, transitional living or whatever. Maybe the Extreme Makeover folks could consider this a project.

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