Dakota Datebook

Good Samaritan Centers

Saturday, January 10, 2004

In 1922, a Lutheran pastor, August Hoeger, was concerned about the needs of children crippled by polio. Inspired by the Bible story in the Book of Luke, he founded the Good Samaritan Society in Arthur, North Dakota. He started raising money, and the response was so positive that he surpassed his goal by $2,000. He put the extra money to work, opening his first Good Samaritan center in 1923; it was a six room home in Arthur that cared for children with epilepsy.

Seven years later, the Good Samaritan Society opened its first home for the elderly in Fargo, and by 1940, the Society had branched into 27 communities in 10 states. By the time Reverend Hoeger died at age 85 in 1970, the Society had grown to 150 facilities caring for 12,000 residents. Two sons and a grandson carried on the virtuous pastor’s work, and the Society now cares for 28,000 residents in 240 facilities in 26 states.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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