The Deaconess Hospital began as St. Luke's Hospital, founded in 1892 by Dr. J.E. Engstad. It was the first hospital in America built and owned by a Scandinavian, and was located at the corner of South Fourth Street and Division Avenue. Because of inadequate staffing in the early years, Dr. Engstad requested help from the Deaconess Home in Minneapolis for nurses. A new wing was added in 1894, bringing the total number of beds to 35.
In 1899, Dr. Engstad sold St. Luke's to the Deaconess Corporation through the selling of subscriptions headed by Rev. I. Tollefson. It became the Grand Forks Deaconess Hospital December 11, 1899. The hospital continued to grow and there were several additions made to the building. A training school for nurses was established in 1904 to alleviate the shortage of nurses in the region. This was a three-year program and the first class graduated in 1907. A pediatrics department opened in 1942, and the total number of beds was 150 in 1951. The nursing school closed in 1959 with the new College of Nursing program at UND. The Deaconess Corporation sold the hospital to the United Hospital Corporation for $1.00 in 1971, completing 79 years of service to the Grand Forks area.