SAN HAVEN STATE HOSPITAL
NORTH DAKOTA TUBERCULOSIS SANITARIUM
North Dakota law created the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanitarium in 1909 (S. L. 1909, Ch. 137) to care for persons afflicted with tuberculosis. Originally known as the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanitarium (later Sanatorium), the hospital was governed by a Board consisting of the Governor, the Superintendent of the State Board of Health, a member of the Public Health Laboratory, and two members appointed by the Governor. In 1911, the governing Board chose Dunseith in Rolette County as the home for this facility. The choice of Dunseith on the south slope of the Turtle Mountains was selected because of the higher altitude, less snowfall, drier atmosphere, and favorable conditions for patients with tuberculosis. The facility opened to patients in November of 1912. In 1915, financial support of the Sanatorium came from the legislature, private paying patients, or from the patient’s local county funds (S. L. 1915, Ch. 246).
The administration of the Sanatorium was transferred in 1911 from the original Board to the Board of Control (S. L. 1911, Ch. 61) and then to the Board of Administration in 1919 (S. L. 1919, Ch. 71). In 1969 the Director of Institutions became the administrator (S. L. 1969, Ch. 440) and in 1973 it became a division of the Grafton State School (S. L. 1973, Ch. 227).
Patients from Grafton and other institutions were transferred to the San Haven facility in the late 1950s, and in 1957 (S. L. 1957, Ch. 197) a building was remodeled to include the developmentally disabled and the elderly. Also in 1957 the State Legislature directed the State Department of Health and the State Health Planning Council to seek out federal funding for the construction of a tuberculosis sanitarium in Grand Forks with the cooperation of North Dakota State Medical Center at University of North Dakota (S. L. 1957, Ch. 197). Later legislation directed the State Medical Center to continue to work with the existing Sanatorium at San Haven (S. L. 1961, Ch. 209).
A Mental Health Authority within the State Health Department was established (S. L. 1961, Ch. 208). The section of San Haven that housed the School for the Feeble Minded was under the authority of the Grafton State School. The 1961 legislature authorized the Board of Administration to transfer patients from Grafton State School to San Haven (S. L. 1961, Ch. 209). In the 1960s the Grafton State School like other U.S. facilities of developmentally disabled reached a peak population of 1,300 who were served daily at the facilities of Grafton and the School at San Haven.
In 1971, the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanatorium was referred to as San Haven State Hospital (S. L. 1971, Ch. 48). Several legislative changes took place in 1973. San Haven became a division of the Grafton State School (S. L. 1973, Ch. 227), however, San Haven continued to treat patients with tuberculosis. The superintendent at Grafton State School also served as the superintendent of the San Haven State Hospital and appointed an assistant superintendent to manage San Haven (S. L. 1973, Ch. 228). In 1973 the Director of Institutions was authorized to discontinue operations at the tuberculosis sanatorium and was to transfer responsibility for the care of patients with tuberculosis to the State Department of Health. Increasingly patients with tuberculosis were either inpatients or outpatients at general hospitals and were treated by physicians of their own choice (S. L. 1973, Ch. 229). Finally, the state leased a portion of the land at San Haven to the Dunseith Park Board to be used as a golf course or for other recreational purposes (S. L. 1973, Ch. 439).
A new section of the Century Code related to new methods of care for persons with tuberculosis. The State Health Officer under the guidelines of the State Health Council was responsible for the care of the patients. The care of those with tuberculosis at San Haven was phased-out and the San Haven facility was to only provide custodial care for the developmentally disabled. Until 1979 the assistant superintendent acted as both the chief of staff and chief of the medical staff and this became two separate positions (S. L. 1979, Ch. 315).
State resources did not cover the all of the costs for maintaining the facilities at San Haven and questions concerning adequate care of the developmentally disabled arose. This brought about a lawsuit in 1980 between the North Dakota Association for Retarded Citizens and the State of North Dakota. The court-ordered changes modernized the custodial system and gave the developmentally disabled residents an opportunity to live in their own communities. In December of 1987 San Haven State Hospital closed. The facility stood vacant in 1989 and the legislature in 1991 authorized the director of the Office of Management and Budget to sell, lease, exchange, or transfer the title of San Haven properties. Any funds realized from the transaction would be deposited in the general fund (S. L. 1991, Ch. 616). In 1992 the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Tribe purchased from the State of North Dakota the San Haven property.
1904 The National Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association was founded.
1909 Creation of the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanitarium was governed by a five member Board (S. L. 1909, Ch.137).
1911 Dunseith was selected as the location and the Board of Control administered the Sanatorium (S. L. 1911, Ch. 61).
1912 The first patients arrived at the Sanatorium in November.
1915 Legislation determined how patient payments were met (S. L. 1915, Ch. 264).
1919 The Board of Administration assumed control and administration of the Sanatorium (S. L. 1919, Ch. 71).
1957 The Board of Administration was authorized to transfer patients from Grafton to San Haven to meet the ever growing need for space for the developmentally disabled. A section of the Sanatorium was remodeled and opened. It was called the San Haven State School for the Feeble Minded. The Legislature directed the State Department of Health seek out federal funds for the construction of a tuberculosis sanitarium to be located at the North Dakota State Medical Center at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks (S. L. 1957, Ch. 197).
1961 Legislation directed the North Dakota State Medical Center at the University of North Dakota to work cooperatively with the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanatorium at San Haven (S. L. 1961, Ch. 209). A Mental Health Authority within the State Health Department was established (S. L. 1961, Ch. 208). The section of San Haven that housed the School for the Feeble Minded officially became a part of the Grafton State School.
1969 The Director of Institutions assumed control of the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanatorium (S. L. 1969, Ch. 440).
1971 The name of the institution was referred to as the San Haven State Hospital (S. L. 1971, Ch. 48).
1973 The San Haven State Hospital became a satellite facility of the Grafton State School. It continued to treat patients with tuberculosis and was used also for purposes consistent with the function of Grafton State School (S. L. 1973, Ch. 227). Legislation set the qualifications for a Superintendent at the Grafton State School. Also, the Superintendent at Grafton State School served as Superintendent at San Haven State Hospital. The Superintendent appointed an assistant superintendent at San Haven to manage the medical staff, and other employees (S. L. 1973, Ch. 228). The care of patients with tuberculosis became the responsibility of the State Department of Health and patients with tuberculosis were encouraged to select a physician and hospital (S. L. 1973, Ch. 229). If a resident was unable to pay for treatment, the state assumed the cost (S. L. 1973, Ch. 230). A thirty-five year lease was granted by the legislature to Dunseith Park Board on a parcel of land to be used as a golf course (S. L. 1973, Ch. 439).
1979 A new section of the Century Code related to new methods of care for persons with tuberculosis. The State Health Officer under the guidelines of the State Health Council was responsible for the inpatient and outpatient care for patients with tuberculosis (S. L. 1979, Ch. 315). The name of the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanatorium was officially changed to San Haven State Hospital [NDCC 25-04-01].
1987 San Haven State Hospital closed in December, when developmentally disabled residents either returned to their own community services area or the Grafton State School.
1989 The buildings at San Haven were vacated by the state.
1991 Legislation authorized the director of the Office of Management and Budget to sell, lease, exchange, or transfer title or use of the San Haven properties (S. L. 1991, Ch. 616).
1992 The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Tribe purchased from the State of North Dakota the San Haven properties.
30805 Patient Account Record.
30806 Patient Register.
30807 Patient Rosters.
30809 Balance Ledger, Payment and Collection Record, and Check Register.
30811 Veterans’ Tuberculosis Fund Ledger.
30812 Indian Tuberculosis Fund Ledger.
30813 Property Inventories.
30814 Office Procedures Manual.
30815 County Collections Register.
30816 Photographs and Slides.
ARC Upper Valley Website.
Gray, David P. Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
Mears, Michele. “So long, San Haven.” Turtle Mountain Star [Rolla, ND] 21 September 1992: 1. Print.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Department of Human Service Website.
North Dakota Department of State. The State Manual of North Dakota, 1926.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Archives. San Haven State Hospital Vertical File.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
State Museum and Store: 8am - 5pm M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10am - 5pm.
State Archives: 8am - 4:30pm., M-F, except state holidays, and 2nd Sat. of each month, 10am - 4:30 pm.
State Historical Society offices: 8am - 5pm M-F, except state holidays.
phone: (701) 328-2666
fax: (701) 328-3710