Morgan Park Hospital

Morgan Park Hospital, date & photographer unknown. [Image: Zenith City Press]

Falcon Street | Architect: George & Arthur Dean | Built: 1916 | Lost: 1934

Because Morgan Park was so far from Duluth’s larger population centers, it was miles away from the nearest hospital. This and the dangerous work of the steel mill created the need for a hospital within Morgan Park. So in 1916 workers began constructing a hospital overlooking the St. Louis River’s Spirit Lake. It would be run by Dr. William H. Magie, the same surgeon who helped Duluth’s Benedictine nuns open St. Mary’s Hospital in 1888.

Constructed of concrete block, the four-story Prairie Style–inspired building was a simple rectangle capped by a gabled roof with
a row of shallow windows peaking out like an extended dormer. Glass solariums protruded from the building’s southern end. It offered thirty-two patient beds on the second and third floors, which also contained examination, treatment, and operating rooms. Its first floor included a kitchen, laundry, and a garage for an ambulance; solariums faced the south, and the fourth or attic floor housed a dormitory for nurses. The Duluth Herald called the building one of the “most complete [hospitals] in the Northwest in the matter of equipment.” The facility even had its own vegetable garden, tended by hospital staff, that ensured patients were fed fresh vegetables.

In 1917 fire destroyed the fourth-floor nurses’ dormitory. Twenty-four patients escaped the blaze. Unfortunately, one patient who had been awaiting emergency surgery died when he finally reached St. Luke’s Hospital. Magie reported that the patient would likely have died of his injuries even if there had been no fire and he had been treated in Morgan Park. The building was repaired, but a previously planned expansion was

The hospital was not limited to serving employees of the steel and cement plants, but those who did not work for USS or its affiliates often had to pay additional fees. Nonemployee emergency cases were treated only if deemed life-or-death situations, and once treated, patients were quickly transferred to a public hospital.

By 1927 road conditions between downtown Duluth and Morgan Park had improved vastly, making access to larger public hospitals much easier. The hospital closed that year. The building was then used as the steel plant’s
safety and labor office until it was razed in 1934.