Lutheran Deaconess Hospital
An Annual Lutheran Deaconess Hospital Alumni and Friends Luncheon is held every year usually the last Saturday of April in the Minneapolis area. In addition to alumni, all former employees, medical staff, and friends of Deaconess are welcome to attend. Call the Mailing List Coordinator listed under the Association Officers to add someone to the list.
The Alumni Association has two endowment funds:
The Deaconess Centennial Service Award Endowment Fund was established to support a Deaconess graduate nurse as a volunteer in a short-term mission assignment. Any LDH grad may apply.
The Deaconess Nursing Alumnae Association also maintains a Scholarship Fund, established for alumni pursuing their degree in nursing to a higher level. This one-time gift is available to all alumni, with proof of current registration in a facility of higher education. There are no other requirements.
The association is maintained by a requested $5.00 donation each year from alumni and friends. This supplies funding of our Scholarship fund and covers costs of the annual mailing. The work involved in keeping our Alumni Associatioin “Alive and Active” is done on a volunteer basis.
Our Annual Meeting is at 1 p.m. the second Monday of February where informal time is spent assembling the luncheon mailing, along with a cup or two of coffee and lots of fellowship. Please call one of the following Alumni Association Officers prior to coming to the annual meeting in February, for the location (in Minneapolis):
Ann Christ ’62 ( 406)446-0326
Mary Bardal ’62 (612) 922-0945
Margaret Stevenson ’63 (612) 724-1198
Luncheon & Mailing List Coordinator:
Jane Grudt ’69 (952) 544-4324 or (952) 361-0897 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lest We Forget…
(History and Memories)
The hospital was established in 1891 with room for 32 beds. In 1910 a new building was completed at the cost of $90,000. A new addition was planned of a four-story structure with the first two stories being erected with a temporary roof in 1925. This made it easier to add the other two stories later, which included operating rooms and laboratories in 1948. In 1959 a west wing was added.
The School of Nursing was established in 1916 with 11 students. Inger Bergh was asked to organize the School. A dormitory, Bergh Hall, for nurses was erected in 1917 at the cost of $17,000. Miss Bergh served 36 years as Director of Nursing for the Hospital and the School, until her retirement in 1952.
Sister Anna Berglund came to Deaconess in 1911 where she took her deaconess training. When she started her career, the sisters worked 10 to 12 hour days doing everything from scrubbing floors to laundry, and all the patient care. Sister Anna was in the first class of nurses to graduate in 1916. In 1921 at the age of 30, she became the Assistant Administrator of the hospital and in 1928 Administrator. She remained as Administrator until 1960, then served out her retirement in the chaplan department.
Deaconess owned a summer cottage called “Solbakken” on Lake Minnetonka’s “Saga Hill.” This Norwegian settlement about 30 miles west of the hospital contained an apple orchard and numerous grape vines. It was a gathering place for staff as well as a beautiful place for the Deaconesses to retreat for times of rest away from the busy hospital.
Christine Jensen became the Director of Nurses in 1952 and served in this capacity until 1968 when the position was split into two positions. Clara Johanson then became director of the School of Nursing until 1971and Rebecca Steinoen became the hospital Director of Nursing. Donna Peterson was Director of the School of Nursing from 1971 until 1978. In 1973 the school became known as the Fairview Deaconess School of Nursing. The last Director was Margaret Herman from 1978 to 1987, when the School of Nursing closed.
Memories remain .....memories of nurses training at Deaconess. As freshmen (“probies”) students were welcomed by their “Big Sis,” who were seasoned students. In the parlor of Deaconess Home, the dorm for upper-classmates and retired deaconesses, the faculty gave a “tea” for the students. The first year students walked to Augsburg College and gathered with other nursing schools for several classes. Many students used unique flashlight study skills in closets and under quilts after “lights out”. Stories linger on about various confrontations in the dorms with “house mothers” (Banks, Moe, Sundell,...) who waited up in rocking chairs for late students and who played “Aggravation” every night. The traditional “tub dunk” for engagements was one event they seemed to avoid.
One custom at Deaconess was singing hymns on the patient floors after the evening meal. Later on singing on the floors followed “Chapel” beginning at 7 a.m. for all students “on duty” that morning. After the probationary period, capping took place in a local church.
Gradually students became orientated to the various stations at the hospital. Hospital training changed throughout the years...
~~ working on two Medical Wards on first floor, OB & GYN & Newborn Nursery on second floor, Ortho and surgical on third floor, plus the O.R. and in the diet kitchen.
~~ Seniors went on affiliations for Pediatrics, Contagious Diseases, Psychiatric Nursing and a Rural Affiliation experience at Mpls. General Hospital, St. Peter, Mpls. Childrens, and throughout the State of Minnesota.
~~ Dining in the hospital cafeteria was not structured in the later years, as it was when the dining room was located in the basement of the hospital where a table was designated for each class. Sister Anna always sat at the head of the table for faculty and sisters in the earlier years. There are fond memories of roast pork, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables and dessert. Before the meal they sang a hymn. Students and sisters took turns giving a short devotion.
~~ Black high-top shoes were worn by students of 1932.
~~ Starched uniforms done by the hospital laundry with shank buttons ended with the class of 1969.
~~ Graduation “was upon us before we knew it. Even though we looked forward to it, there was an element of sadness felt by many. We would be going our own ways, and our lives would never be the same.”
~~ 1966-Berg Hall was razed, and in 1967 Anna Berglund Hall opened.
~~ 1973-LDH merger with Fairview and the school became “Fairview-Deaconess School of Nursing”.
~~ 1983-LDH closed except for “Same-day Surgery”
~~ 1987-LDH School of Nursing closed, as the last of diploma nursing schools in Minnesota.
~~ 1992-the building was razed by the city of Minneapolis.
The medical staff grew to nearly 200 in the 1970's. After merging with Fairview and the closing of the facility as a hospital, it became a major facility for adolescent mental health and chemical dependency treatment services plus the site for “Same Day Surgery.” Later the city of Minneapolis acquired the building and had it razed in 1992.
Lutheran Deaconess Hospital
no longer exists as a building,
but our memories linger on.
The statue of Christ, “At His Feet”, in the hospital lobby was a reminder to all of His great love and care.
It is the end of an era,
but Lutheran Deaconess Hospital and School of Nursing will live in our hearts forever.
Lest we forget……
1891 LDH began with 12 beds
1910 New LDH building with 90 beds for $90,000
1915 LDH School of Nursing began with 11 students
1916 First class of 15 graduates
1917 Bergh Hall erected for $17,000
1932 Last class to wear high top black shoes
1940 No lipstick! Open door for upper classmates
1948 Two more stories added to LDH (280 beds)
1950 Closet studying after lights out
1957 The bunny hop: a case for grounding
1959 West wing added to LDH
1966 Berg Hall down, students at NW dorms by Loring Park, the old shuttle bus that seldom ran…
1967 Anna Berglund Hall erected
1968 New ER and Lab in Burntveldt wing
1969 Last of starched uniforms with shank buttons and the hospital laundry doing the uniforms
1973 LDH merger with Fairview
1983 LDH closed: Building then used as a treatment facility and same day surgery remained there.
1987 Last of Fairview-Deaconess Nursing Students graduated. A combined total of about 2100 diploma grads in 72 years.
1987 In June LDH doors closed followed by demolition in 1992 when owned by the city of Minneapolis.