A Brief History

Annual Average Stats

Our History

Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow, Montana is a voluntary, nonprofit corporation designed to serve the people of Northeastern Montana and surrounding areas.  A  Board of Trustees, elected as representatives of Valley County, supervises its operations.  Trustees set the policies of the hospital and serve without pay.

The chief purpose of FMDH is to provide the best patient care possible at the lowest possible cost.   The hospital today reflects a refinement of that goal as the staff strives to meet the needs and realities of the community.  The high-tech hospital we all enjoy today had very humble beginnings.

The first known hospital in the Glasgow area was established in 1889 when three boxcars were placed in formation of the letter ‘H.’  In the late 1800s the new Great Northern Railroad was responsible for many accidents and sickness.  In order to cope with the situations, the railroad, in 1889, supplied the first hospital in Glasgow.  This was made of three boxcars; one car was an office and sleeping room, the second a drug storage area and operating room and the third, a ward for patients.  Ordinary camp cots served as hospital beds and ten traditional pot-bellied stoves heated the cars.  Since there were no trained nurses, friends and family cared for the sick or injured.  Often, women in the community would provide the needed help.   From the very beginning, Glasgow residents felt the need for a hospital.  Dr. Mark Hoyt came to Glasgow in 1891 to establish a general practice and to serve the Great Northern Railway as local surgeon. 

In 1910, A.W. Mahon offered to donate an entire block of land for a hospital.  Located in the southeast corner of Glasgow the land borders the Milk River and is across the street from Hoyt Park.  The community accepted the gift and a stock company formed to raise funds for a $15,000 hospital.  People readily responded.   Frances Hoyt Mahon Memorial Hospital opened its doors on November 21, 1911.  It was the most modern hospital in the state. The name honored Frances Hoyt Mahon, wife of A.W. Mahon and sister to Dr. Hoyt.  She was born in 1872 and died in 1907 at age 35, three years before her husband donated the land.  She also left money in her will to build a hospital in Glasgow.  Dr. Hoyt and others added memorial gifts to the fund.  The hospital was partly built, but then was standing without funds, and apparently hopelessly in debt.

The name of the hospital was changed to Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in 1914 when the Deaconess Hospital of Great Falls Montana finally offered to give the Glasgow hospital a three year lease.  The lease offered assistance including equipment, financing, and caring for the new establishment.  In the first four years, the hospital staff cared for over 1,400 cases.  To contrast, in 2003 our staff cared for over 25,000 people.

The community of Glasgow has always worked to be ahead of the times in medical and hospital facilities. One such example is during the period of 1934-35 when the 60 bed modern three story, brick structure was conceived and constructed.  The need for the new hospital was recognized as a result of the Fort Peck dam project.  At that time the federal Public Works Administration provided a loan and grant for the new building.  In 1936 Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital cared for 2,036 patients.  The building served the community well until August 26, 1968, when a new, 35-bed wing went into operation.

A new $365,000, 35 bed wing for accommodating additional patients at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital opened in August 1968.  The hospital, now enlarged, was not only the finest but the first of its kind in northeast Montana.  The hospital now offered 35 additional beds and also contained a new physical therapy department.  It offered people with broken bones a start on the road back to faster recovery.  Heart attack and stroke patients had access to the most modern equipment affordable.  The hospital now could also offer two levels of care, acute and convalescent and a third level, intensive care was being planned for the near future.

In 1978, Trustees dedicated a newly constructed hospital that included a surgery suite, emergency room, 24 more hospital beds and an office area.   A huge community effort called “Operation Update” was organized.  The community fund drive raised over 2 million dollars, far exceeding their expectations, to build the new hospital.  A proud local community took pride in their modern, most up-to-date facility in the region.   The 1935 three story building was remodeled to accommodate doctor’s offices and clinics.  FMDH is thought of as a mini-medical center providing services only found in larger cities.

In 1988 a wing was added to Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital for the Chemical Dependency Center.  The center was formerly located at the Glasgow Air Force Base.  The Chemical Dependency Center was relocated to downtown Glasgow in 1992 and the hospital space was remodeled for offices and support services of Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital.

The Glasgow Clinic moved to the new clinic building in May 1998.  The building eliminated the former separation if the Glasgow Clinic between the second and third floors of the Medical Arts Building (1935 building).  The building has a spacious reception area, central nursing station, facility for outpatient surgery, and space for eight doctor’s offices.  The new clinic building is part of the hospital’s mission to provide the best in family practice medicine to northeastern Montana.  It allows more convenience to doctors and their patients in the hospital.  The clinic building has additional space available for future clinics and department expansion.   The 1935 building is used for doctors’ clinics, visiting specialist clinics, and support services.

In 2017 Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital began a renovation project throughout many of the departments, allowing for updated facilities and reconfiguration of space to maximize use.


With advancements in technology there have been many changes seen at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow since the days of the box cars in 1889.  Northeast Montana can be very proud and confident in the medical services provided at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital.  It is a progressive facility offering quality compassionate care to those they serve.  At Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital, it’s about life.  It’s about You since 1889.