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Community Health Center, Inc. records

Identifier: U6263

Content Description

The collection contains records of the Community Health Center, Inc. and its successors, First Plan of Minnesota and FirstSolutions. Included are historical information, articles of incorporation and bylaws, Board of Directors meeting minutes, newsletters, reports, correspondence, operating statements, ephemera, photographs, and videos produced by the organization.


  • 1939-2010


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

The Two Harbors Community Health Association was organized in 1944. This new organization took over a hospital which for the previous 40 years had been operated as part of a prepayment plan for the Duluth, Missabe, and Iron Range Railroad. This plan had been compulsory for railroad employees, and consisted of proprietary, doctor-owned hospitals in the region. In 1944, the two doctors who owned and operated an old frame hospital in Two Harbors reached retirement age and were unable to sell their property to other doctors. A number of local unions, fraternal, and civic organizations in the area organized and raised $35,000 to purchase the hospital. They contracted with three physicians, Dr. R.F. Mueller, Dr. L.M. Hammer, and Dr. R.M. Magraw, who became the first medical staff. Under the ownership of the Community Health Association, the hospital became a voluntary membership organization open to all members of the community. The Association later changed its name to the Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC), though these two names were used interchangeably for the first few years of the organization’s existence. In 1945, Lois Bailey joined the staff as Operating Room Nurse, and Louise Blacktopp joined the staff as Supervisor of Nurses. During the first ten years of operations, the medical staff increased to include a general surgeon, a specialist in internal medicine, three general practitioners, and a consulting radiologist.

In 1954 a fundraising drive was launched to build a new, more modern hospital. However, there was a controversy between the local medical society and a faction of the local community that resulted in court action and two years of delays. In the end, the Community Health Center agreed to separate outpatient doctor and clinic facilities and the prepayment plan from the hospital operation. The CHC built a $160,000 outpatient health center that was separate from, but adjacent to, the new hospital in Two Harbors. In 1967, a new nursing and convalescent home was also added, along with a Home Health Nursing Service program. An addition was also added to the clinic in 1970. In 1973 the CHC became a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) under applicable state statute. It was the first HMO in Minnesota and the third in the United States.

In 1966 the CHC started offering a Medicare Supplemental product, and in 1986 it became an affiliate of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. It also coordinated a community ambulance service in Two Harbors and Silver Bay.

In June of 1995, shortly after celebrating its 50th anniversary, the CHC changed its name to First Plan of Minnesota. By its 60th anniversary in 2004, First Plan was serving more than 17,000 people, with a provider network throughout northeastern Minnesota. Clinics owned by First Plan included SuperiorHealth Medical Group primary care clinics in Duluth, Proctor, and Two Harbors; SuperiorHealth Pharmacies in Duluth, Silver Bay, and Two Harbors, and SuperiorHealth Community Care, which provided community nursing, assisted living, and adult day care services in Lake County. In 2006, the organization changed its name to FirstSolutions.

In 2012, the organization became The Victory Fund. Located in Duluth, Minnesota, this foundation was established “to help communities in northeastern Minnesota identify, address and resolve chronic health issues,” particularly related to dementia. In 2016 the organization shifted its focus to supporting recovery programs for drug and alcohol addictions, while still supporting “initiatives that aid Duluth in becoming a dementia-friendly community.” (Quotations from The Victory Fund website.)


7.92 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection contains records of the Community Health Center, Inc. and its successors, First Plan of Minnesota and FirstSolutions.

Physical Location

This collection is located at the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives. For more information about this collection or to make an appointment, contact us at or 218-726-8526.

Community Health Center, Inc. records
S. Aue
December 8, 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Collecting Area Details

Contact The University of Minnesota Duluth Archives and Special Collections Collecting Area

Kathryn A. Martin Library
University of Minnesota Duluth
416 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3001
(218) 726-8526