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Rich History at Avera St. Luke's

It was a diphtheria epidemic at the turn of the century in Aberdeen, South Dakota, that led to the beginning of what is now called Avera St. Luke's Hospital.

The Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (more commonly referred to as the Presentation Sisters) were fulfilling their calling as teachers by operating a school for kindergarten through eighth-grade students in the community. When the epidemic struck, local physicians asked the Sisters for help. They converted their classrooms to sick wards and served the community until the epidemic subsided.

As a result of their response, the doctors and citizens of Aberdeen asked the Sisters to establish a hospital. On Oct. 18, 1901, St. Luke's Hospital, a 15-bed facility, was dedicated as the pioneer healthcare facility of the Presentation Sisters, who would go on to establish hospitals in Mitchell and Sioux Falls, SD, and Miles City, Mont., within the next 10 years.

As soon as it opened, St. Luke's Hospital became very busy and expanded in 1903, 1907 and 1913. Then in 1926, the South Dakota Department of Health called for a considerable amount of updating of the facilities. The Sisters decided that building a newer, expanded facility was a better choice than revamping the old. The result was a new, modern St. Luke's in 1928 with a capacity of 159 beds. We have continued to grow and progress over the years.

Learn More About Avera St. Luke's History by Decades

Other Historic Points of Interest Over the Years


A polio epidemic sweeps the region, and St. Luke's becomes the Center for the National Foundation for Polio. Six iron lungs are flown in, and the Presentation Sisters begin physical therapy services for the first time.


St. Luke's Hospital becomes the focus of national and international headlines when the Fischer quintuplets were born and all survived. Guards were posted to protect the family from the swarms of reporters who converged on the hospital.


A new South Wing is added to the 1928 building, creating a new entrance with a large lobby, new admissions and business office areas, a new cafeteria, as well as new patient rooms on the 3rd and 4th floors.


St. Luke's consolidates with the other private hospital that was built in Aberdeen in 1968, Dakota Midland Hospital. The merger changes the name of  St. Luke's to St. Luke's Midland Regional Medical Center.


The hospital gets in the international spotlight again with the birth of the Schweitzer/Uchytil twins. The twins were carried to term by their grandmother, but were the biological children of her daughter and her daughter's husband.


A new East Wing is built to provide an improved Emergency Department, a larger and improved Patient Admissions area, a Same Day Surgery Center and expanded surgical suites, Outpatient Services, Kidney Dialysis, an Endoscopy Department, Cardiac Rehab facilities, a Cardiac/Angiography Lab, an MRI exam room, and a consolidated, complete Laboratory.


The hospital merges with the long-term care facilities at Mother Joseph Manor in Aberdeen, beginning the movement toward providing a full continuum of care.


Davis Court Apartments are completed adjacent to Mother Joseph Manor, offering retirement living facilities with health services.


The medical center announces a merger with United Clinic, a primary care physician clinic in Aberdeen, to enhance the coordination of health care services for the future.


Nano Nagle Village, an assisted living facility adjacent to Mother Joseph Manor, is completed.

The Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen and the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton join their health ministries and become co-sponsors of a new organization called Avera Health. St. Luke's becomes Avera St. Luke's, co-sponsored by the Presentation and Benedictine Sisters.


Eureka Health Care Center is added to our long-term care division.


Avera St. Luke's Physical & Aquatic Therapy Center opens, including the region's largest warm water therapy pool.


Construction is completed on a new four-story, 70,000-square-foot hospital addition that houses a new ICU and the BirthPlace, as well as physician clinics. Avera St. Luke’s also expanded the variety and accessibility of diagnostic imaging in the region with the construction of a free-standing imaging center. A 10,000-square-foot medical office building was built adjacent to the Imaging Center in Avera St. Luke's Healthcare Plaza.


New State Street Medical Square, a medical office building, is completed near the hospital, with Aberdeen Family Physicians as the anchor tenant.


The new Same Day Surgery area, part of our revamped Surgery Center, includes 22 same day surgery patient rooms (including four flex rooms), an all new and spacious post-surgery recovery area, a large and comfortable waiting room, plus two private family/physician consultation rooms. In phase two of our surgical remodeling project, work was completed on seven operating suites, each designed for special surgical procedures.





Our new 14,000-square-foot, $3 million therapy addition to Avera St. Luke’s Therapy Center opens, enhancing services and improving patient convenience by combining all outpatient rehabilitation therapy services in one centralized location near the hospital.

Our medical center is licensed for 133 beds and cares for nearly 6,000 inpatients each year. Outpatient visits have reached nearly 215,000 per year.

Nearly 1,500 employees serve in Avera St. Luke's hospital, clinics and long-term care divisions. The medical/dental staff, which features more than 80 local physicians who represent 34 specialties, also provides outreach clinics in smaller communities in the Aberdeen region.