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NORTH DAKOTA VETERANS’ HOME

The North Dakota Soldiers’ Home was created by the State Constitution and established in 1890 (S. L. 1890, Ch. 165) at Lisbon, North Dakota. The purpose of the home was “to provide a home and subsistence for all honorably discharged soldiers, sailors, and marines…who are disabled by disease, wounds, or old age…” The 1891 Legislature appropriated funds to erect a Soldiers Home at Lisbon. The site along the Sheyenne River was acquired in 1891. The first resident, a Civil War veteran, entered the home in 1893. Legislation in 1893 (S. L. 1893, Ch. 121) allowed wives and widows of veterans to reside at the Soldiers Home.

The Soldiers’ Home was governed by the Board of Commissions consisting of five members appointed by the Governor, with consent of the Senate, for two terms. The Governor was allowed to appoint a commander of the North Dakota Grand Army of the Republic chairman of the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners had the authority to appoint the Commandant of the Soldiers Home.

The Board of Commissioners was replaced by the Board of Trustees in 1897 (S. L. 1897, Ch. 132) consisting of five veterans, four appointed by the Governor with the Commander of the North Dakota Grand Army of the Republic serving as an ex-officio member. The Board of Trustees had essentially the same duties as the Board of Commissioners.

The Administrative Committee of Veterans’ Affairs was established in 1971 (S. L. 1971, Ch. 344) and given responsibility for administration of the Soldiers’ Home. In 1987 the name of the Soldiers’ Home was changed to the North Dakota Veterans’ Home.

The Administrative Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, headquartered in Fargo, has a seven member subcommittee within the Administrative Committee of Veterans’ Affairs that has actual supervision of the general operation of the Home and recommends policy. The Commandant, who is appointed and accountable to the Veterans Administration, is responsible for day to day management. The Commandant must be an honorably discharged veteran (S. L. 2005 Ch. 312), and the administrator of the Veterans’ Home may be appointed Commandant if he qualifies as an honorably discharged veteran.

Applicants must show proof that they are a bona fide resident of North Dakota, but the requirements may be waived if the applicant has served in a North Dakota regiment or was accredited in this state. Admittance is the same for the spouse (S. L. 2005, Ch. 313).

Until the late 1980s and early 1990s only applicants who were ambulatory and able to care for themselves were admitted. In 1989 (S. L. 1989, Ch. 57) the legislature appropriated funds to remodel the Home. Changes included the addition of a 38 bed licensed skilled care nursing facility to provide long term care veterans residing at the Home.

Funding for the Home comes chiefly from the United States Veterans’ Administration, direct appropriations from the legislature, and the interest and income fund. A veteran may be charged a fee based on his/her adjusted income (S. L. 2005, Ch. 313).

In 2007 the legislature appropriated money for the rebuilding of the Veterans’ Home (S.L. 2007, Ch. 313), and in 2009 as an emergency measure, the legislature appropriated additional building funds to increase the number of beds from 121 to 150 (S. L. 2009, Ch. 53).

CHRONOLOGY

1890 Establishment of North Dakota Soldiers Home.

1891 Funds appropriated to erect Soldiers Home at Lisbon.

1893 First soldier, a Civil War Veteran enters Soldiers Home.

1897 The Board of Trustees replaces the original Board of Commissioners.

1899-1940 Hospital on site provides medical care for residents.

1907 Commandants residence built.

1949 Legislature appropriates fund for new barracks.

1950 Dedication of new barracks on June 7, 1950.

1971 Creation of the Administrative Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Seven member subcommittee appointed to administer general operations.

1987 Name changed to North Dakota Veterans’ Home.

1989 State legislature appropriates remodeling funds including a skilled nursing facility providing for long term care and the gazebo is added to create room for activities.

2007 Legislature appropriates funds for rebuilding the Home.

2009 Appropriates additional funds for additional beds.

SOURCES:

North Dakota Blue Book; 1989, 2003-2005.
North Dakota Century Code: 37-15-.01 to 37-15-22.
North Dakota State Session Laws.
Veterans’ Home Website.

SERIES

30473 Board of Trustees Minutes
30474 Secretary of the Board of Commissioners Outgoing Letters.
30475 Commandant’s Outgoing Letters.
30476 Daily Morning Reports.
30477 Hospital Fund Account.
30478 Record of Income and Vouchered Disbursements.
30479 Pension Account.
30480 Record of Medical Treatment.
30481 Record of Discharged Members.
30482 Death Register.

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