Good Samaritan Institute

Good Samaritan Institute.

The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society was founded by Reverend August "Dad" Hoeger in 1922. The Society opened a home for "aged cripples and epileptics" at Arthur, North Dakota. In 1927, an Old People's Home was started in Fargo. Similar facilities were opened in other states.

Rev. Hoeger

Rev. Hoeger had long envisioned a school for the handicapped and in 1932 he was approached concerning the abandoned buildings of Fargo College which had closed in 1922. After lengthy negotiations, terms were reached with the Fargo College trustees on August 1, 1932. The Society agreed to purchase the facilities of Fargo College for $70,000. On November 7, 1932, the Good Samaritan Institute, a combined hospital, home, and school for "normal minded cripples."

Rev. Hoeger began the school in the Library, the smallest of the three buildings. The school opened in 1932 with eight students, one in high school and the others in lower grades. Dorthea Olson was the first teacher and matron. Leland S. Burgum became the principal and business manager.

By 1937, there were 36 students enrolled: ten in a four-year high school curriculum and 26 in trade, junior high school, and lower grades.

Good Samaritan Institute students.

The Institute's trade school offered a number of fields of study. The Good Samaritan Shoe Shop was organized in 1933. The shop opened in the basement of the former library and moved in the spring of 1936 to the basement of Jones Hall. The course graduated three students in each of 1934, 1935, and 1937.

The Print Shop was located in the basement of the school and printed materials for various Good Samaritan organizations in North Dakota and neighboring states. In 1937, one student was enrolled in the trade course and three workers helped in printing the many papers, letterheads, booklets, and other material produced by the shop.

Good Samaritan Institute students.

The Good Samaritan Bible and Training School was organized in 1934 for the purpose of training young women to become Christian workers. A complete two-year course was offered. In 1937, the enrollment was seven girls, with two graduating that year. The Bible and Training School was relocated to Waterloo, Iowa, in 1938.

On November 8, 1937, Leland Burgum resigned to enter graduate school at Columbia University in New York City. In early 1939, the North Dakota State Board of Administration inspected the Institute and refused to issue a license, thus eliminating state aid. Both of these events were serious blows to the future of the Institute. Reverend Wilko Schoenbohm took over as principal on May 23, 1938, but he was faced with mounting debts at the school, including pressure from the Fargo College trustees who had yet to receive any payment.

In the background to these events at the Institute, a schism had been growing within the Society. This schism began officially on January 3, 1938, when the Lutheran Hospitals and Home Society (LHHS) was incorporated. Eleven months later, a group of Lutheran men and women agreed to form a corporation to take over the Good Samaritan Institute. The Institute's Board of Directors voted to relinquish the Society's contract with the Fargo College trustees and turn the school over to the new corporation which renamed the school as the North Dakota School for Crippled Children. The LHHS Board acted on April 9, 1940, to purchase the assets of the Institute for $3,000 and move the school to James town, ND. On September 12, 1941, the School for Crippled Children at Jamestown was dedicated. It was renamed the Anne Carlsen Center for Children in 1980 in honor of Anne Carlsen who served as teacher and administrator of the school for 40 years.

The Good Samaritan Society remains active today and you can find out more the Society by visiting their website.

Good Samaritan Institute letterhead.