Grand Forks Hospital is now Overwactea’s paved parking lot

The Good Old Days column by Kristina Kapitza of the Boundary Museum & Interpretive Centre.

The Grand Forks Hospital was opened in October 1915.

Were you born in the produce aisle? If you were born in the old Grand Forks Hospital, you might have been!

Opened in October 1915, the Grand Forks Hospital was built where the Overwaitea parking lot is now. The hospital was built for Dr. Kingston, who funded the hospital as a replacement for the much smaller private Cottage Hospital, which had been in operation since 1900. The Cottage Hospital continued to operate as an isolation ward for infectious patients.

(The first mention of a hospital in Grand Forks was in 1897, which mentioned the establishment of the Jubilee Hospital near where the current fire hall is. Another small hospital was opened in 1899 on First Street, and the Cottage Hospital was built in 1900 on Ninth Street. These three hospitals served the Grand Forks community until the Grand Forks Hospital was opened in 1915.)

The new Grand Forks hospital was two stories high and was constructed of cement blocks. With two large general wards, two semi-private wards and several private wards, the hospital was able to accommodate approximately 40 patients.

There were also two maternity wings and one operating room, which had the most modern equipment that was available at that time. The building also included a sunroom and balcony for convalescent patients, as well as rooms for the nurses which were heated by a hot water plant.

The hospital cost about $20,000 to complete, which was paid solely by Dr. Kingston.

Over the course of its nearly 50-year history, the Grand Forks Hospital was home to many medical achievements. Dr. Hugh Atwood was the first child born in the hospital on Oct. 19, 1915. The Grand Forks Gazette reported on Oct. 23, 1915 that there were already 14 patients in the hospital, including Hugh Mills, who was suffering from typhoid fever.

In 1916, the hospital acquired a powerful new X-ray machine which helped to advance medical care in the Boundary region. In 1928, Dr. Kingston and Dr. Truax performed the first Caesarian section in the hospital when the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Triskey of Washington was born.

The Grand Forks Hospital was also home to a nurse training program. Iris Hopper Manson received her nurse’s pin and diploma in 1941 after training at the hospital for three years.

The hospital was owned privately by Dr. Kingston until 1947, when it was purchased by the City of Grand Forks. It continued to serve the residents of Grand Forks until 1963, when the Boundary Hospital was opened at its present location on 22nd Street. A year later, the building was demolished in order to make room for the new Overwaitea supermarket.

To discover more about the history of the Grand Forks community, visit us at the Boundary Community Archives in the basement of the Grand Forks city hall. We are open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Contact us at 250-442-8266 ext. 60126, or drop by at 7217 4th St., Grand Forks.