History

Inspired by our namesake, Dr. Anne Carlsen, we are continuing her life’s work of helping others enjoy greater independence and quality of life. Born without forearms or lower legs, Dr. Anne refused to let her physical impairments prevent her from living life to its fullest. She served as teacher, administrator and mentor for the Center, touching many lives with her compassion, courage and determination. Her spirit of hope lives on today as we remain dedicated to “Nurturing abilities. Changing lives.” The following is a timeline of key events and milestones that have taken place in our 70 years of existence.

1920’s

The Evangelical Good Samaritan Society was granted state licensure of incorporation for a fee of $5 and the first Good Samaritan Society home was opened in Arthur, N.D. with 13 residents.

a little girl standing in front of the Crippled Children's School sign dating back to the mid 1900's

1930’s

The Evangelical Good Samaritan Society determined the need for a school devoted to children and young people with physical disabilities.

Rev. W.B. Schoenbohm joined the Good Samaritan Society. Schoenbohm spearheaded fundraising efforts needed to build the school in the harsh economic climate of the post-Depression era. Alongside community leader Rev. W.W. A. Keller, a former Presbyterian college in Fargo, N.D., was procured by the Good Samaritan Society for the creation of the Crippled Children’s School. Schoenbohm was named as Superintendent.

Anne Carlsen, a quadruple congenital amputee, joined the staff as a high school teacher.

1940’s

Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society purchased the Crippled Children’s School and moved it to Jamestown, N.D. Construction began in the fall at Horseshoe Park on six acres purchased for $450.

Nearly 1,000 people gathered Sept. 21, 1941 to help dedicate the new school. The original building cost $58,000 to construct and was paid for entirely with private donations. It opened its doors to 18 students on Sept. 22, 1941 The School included two modern classrooms, a craft room, library, therapy room, dining hall, recreation room, and dormitory for 35 children. Anne Carlsen was named the school principal. The School purchased additional acreage to the northwest.

The Easter Seal Wing, included three classrooms, rooms for occupational therapy, physical therapy, hydrotherapy, speech correction, storage, exercise, and a dormitory for 32 boys. Additional remodeling provided a junior high school room, a staff dining room and additional medical isolation facilities.

A window lit portrait of Dr. Anne Carlsen standing in a classroom

1950’s

Dr. Anne Carlsen was named superintendent. Two classrooms and a laundry unit were added to the growing facility. The School’s enrollment climbed to 59.

A Ford Foundation grant for $33,200 and Hill-Burton Funds approved by the N.D. State Health Planning Commission provided money for construction of the industrial arts department, homemaking department, and new kitchen and dining room facilities.

Students were evacuated during a flood.

First Island Echo yearbook was published in 1955.

Dr. Anne Carlsen received the President’s Trophy as Handicapped American of the Year.

1960’s

The new occupational therapy department and all-purpose auditorium/gymnasium was dedicated in May.

A new heating plant, physical therapy department and speech therapy department with a special classroom for the hearing impaired were added.

The Center floods again.

North Dakota Governor William Guy honored Dr. Anne Carlsen with North Dakota’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Roughrider Award. The award is given to persons who have brought credit to the state by achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor.

The Center celebrates its 25th anniversary. Lawrence Welk was the honorary chairperson of the appeal.

New Vocational Training Program established in 1968.

Dr. Anne Carlsen with Vice President Nixon, receiving Handicapped American of 1958 award, Washington, D.C.

1970’s

The Crippled Children School dedicated a new modular dormitory designed to house 32 students. Thousands of gifts, matched by a 46 percent grant from Hill-Burton Construction Funds, supported the project. A second modular dormitory was added 5 years later.

Dr. Anne Carlsen was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame at Fullerton (Calif.) College.

1980’s

The name of the school was changed to Anne Carlsen School, in honor of Dr. Anne Carlsen who had served as teacher, principal and administrator for more than four decades.

Dr. Anne Carlsen retired from her administrative position and took a part-time consulting job with the School. She continued to maintain office hours and serve as a consultant and mentor to staff and students until the time of her death. Dr. Anne also received the W. Clement Stone Foundation Endow-a-Dream Award, given each year to honor an individual who has used a positive mental attitude to overcome adversity and make contributions to the betterment of humanity. A check for $50,000 was given to the School for its endowment fund.

President Ronald Reagan appointed Dr. Anne Carlsen vice-chair of the President’s Committee on Employing the Handicapped.

The focus of the Center’s programs expanded to include young people with severe multiple disabilities.The therapeutic swimming pool and whirlpool were completed so students could begin benefiting from physical, recreational and social therapy. The School’s program was expanded to include services and placement for children with autism.

A portrait of Dr. Anne Carlsen as an elderly woman

1990’s

The Kids First program began offering evaluations and treatment for children, birth to six years of age, in Jamestown and the surrounding areas. The Advanced Care Unit opened, providing state-of-the-art medical care and skilled personnel for medically fragile youngsters.

Dr. Anne Carlsen received the L.B. Hartz Professional Achievement Award from Minnesota State University Moorhead and the Judge Henry and Helen T. Graven Award for Outstanding Christian Lay Work from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa.

The School celebrated its golden anniversary with a year-long series of events. The School’s education services received accreditation as an elementary school from the prestigious accrediting agency, North Central Association.

Dr. Anne Carlsen was chosen as one of 22 North Dakotans to serve on Governor-elect Ed Schafer’s transition team and she was named Psychologist of the Year by the North Dakota Psychological Association.

The School received a President’s Grant from Lutheran Health Systems to develop and put in place a system of providing rehabilitation services to children from all Lutheran Health Systems facilities throughout the nation.

The name of the school was changed to Anne Carlsen Center for Children to better reflect its broader scope of services. Dr. Anne Carlsen and the Center celebrated her 80th birthday. Contributions honoring her totaled more than $25,000 and helped purchase a handicapped-accessible van.

The Anne Carlsen Tree of Life was dedicated, revealing 700 names of those who had contributed at least $5,000 to the Center. Total contributions to the Center had exceeded $26 million to that point.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating Anne Carlsen Center's 60th anniversary

2000’s

The Center celebrated its 60th anniversary with a number of events including: a ribbon-cutting ceremony which culminated a five-year, $1.6 million remodeling project, an alumni reunion where over 70 graduates of the Center gathered, and a gala event highlighted with a benefit concert by acclaimed pianist Lorie Line and her Pop Chamber Orchestra. Over 1,500 people attended the performance which raised more than $20,000 for Center programs.

The Council on Quality and Leadership in Supports for People with Disabilities gave the Center its highest accreditation rating.

The Center’s namesake, Dr. Anne Carlsen, passed away on Dec. 22, 2002.

On July 1, 2003 the Center became an independently-owned organization operated by a governing board of directors.

Construction began on a residential expansion and remodeling, adding three residential cottages to the campus and remodeling the existing dorm area, increasing the Advanced Care Unit from six to 16 beds.

In July, 16, 2004 students moved into new homes located just yards from the main campus when two of three houses were completed in the first phase of a major remodeling and expansion project designed to enhance the living environment to better meet the needs of today’s residents.

The gardening program is created at the Center, allowing students to grow their own vegetables and fruits. Students also produce market and sell homemade salsa. The Chaplaincy Program is created, as Pastor JoAnne Moeller is available to students, their families and Center staff for all spiritual needs.

The Anne Carlsen Center floods. Students were evacuated with the assistance of University of Jamestown athletes. Students attended school the next day at community sites.

The remodeling project in the home living areas of the Jamestown campus is completed, increasing the Center’s ability to serve medically-fragile children and behaviorally-challenged children in less-restrictive environments. State-of- the-art, highly-accessible features allow students to be engaged in and comfortable in their home environments.The Solarium project is completed, thanks to the generosity of ACC donors.

ACC opens a Community Services office in Grand Forks and begins providing In-Home Supports and Personal and Community Supports to individuals and families in Northeast North Dakota. ACC launches the “Accessing the Artist Within” project as a means to encourage the use of assistive technology in the creation of art, music or video.

Anne Carlsen Center 75th Logo

2010’s

ACC initiates management of four office locations (Fargo, Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Jamestown), in the state’s KIDS Infant Development or Early Intervention Program.

Community-based Autism Services are initiated.

Community-Based Service Office in Fargo, Jamestown and Bismark opened, offering day, in-home supports and autism services.

Therapy Canine Program with Champ, the service dog, is initiated.

ACC assumes management of Annie’s House at the Bottineau Winter Park to accommodate the needs of skiers with physical and cognitive disabilities and began developing Annie’s House into an all season recreation, education and arts program.

Community-Based Service office in Minot opens, offering autism services.

Organization has grown from serving 225 individuals in 2009 to over 2,600 individuals in 2015.