Posted on: November 26, 2017

As our focus on the past has brought us to the realization that the passage of time has led us to the present day Plains Indians, an authentic Native American Tribal POW WOW will be held in Glenwood in May '18.

Watch for updates! We will all be honored to work with them and learn.


Posted on: May 31, 2014

Thanks to Scott Stewart and the Council Bluffs Nonpareil for this story!

GLENWOOD — Tyler McCann spent Friday afternoon learning how people used to live in Mills County from prehistoric times through pioneer times. Second-graders from Northeast Elementary School in the Glenwood Community School District went on a field trip to Glenwood Lake Park where they explored a one-room schoolhouse, toured the Mills County Historical Museum and learned about the Glenwood culture in the University of Iowa Mobile Museum, which also opened the doors of its recreational vehicle to the public Friday evening.

The museum had artifacts from earth lodges like the one across the street from Glenwood Lake Park. The Glenwood Archaeological State Preserve includes 22 earth lodges among its 133 archaeological sites in the Loess Hills of Mills County.

Tyler said he learned that the settlements, used between about 1250 and about 1400, had a hole in their roof to let smoke out from fires.

“They slept on these beds on the floor, and they made their own things,” the 9-year-old said.

He said he also learned about the animals that lived in Iowa during the Ice Age from another exhibit in the Mobile Museum, which included a mammoth bone and a saber-toothed cat skull among other fossils.

Inside the Mills County Historical Museum, the children saw the Eagle Scout badge from the first person in the county to earn one, a recent acquisition of the museum.

“They are very interested in the history of the county,” parent Melissa Mixan said.

Her son Maverick, 8, asked one of the field trip guides why the desks in the one-room schoolhouse had a hole. (Answer: It held the ink well for their pens.) He said he wanted to grow up to be a paleontologist with his own museum.

The students also could grind corn on a stone in the museum, view a large collection of arrowheads, walk through a early 1900s country cottage, observe what life would have been like for inmates of Henderson’s old two-cell city jail and visit an old outhouse. Rebecca Corners said her 7-year-old daughter Savannah and her classmates asked a lot of questions and got engaged in learning about local history while enjoying a beautiful day outside.

“They’ve really enjoyed this day,” she said. “It’s been very beneficial to them.”

As students explored the Mobile Museum, one child exclaimed “Whoa!” upon seeing the femur of a Columbian mammoth, an extinct elephant-like mammal that was a couple feet taller than the woolly mammoth. Others mistook a replica of the Old State Capitol to be the White House until a museum official stepped in to correct them and draw their attention to the building’s gold dome.

Chérie Haury-Artz, a member of the education and outreach arm of the Office of the State Archeologist, was among those traveling with the Mobile Museum. She said last weekend it was in Decorah at Luther College and had a line of people waiting when the doors opened.

“Word spread through town,” she said.

Preservation Iowa – 2014 Most Endangered Properties

Posted on: April 14, 2014

The Most Endangered Property program was started in 1995 and implemented to educate Iowans about the special buildings and historic sites that are slowly and gradually slipping away from us.

Preservation Iowa has designated 6 properties for 2014 Most Endangered Designations. The Most Endangered Properties program provides an excellent resource for media coverage and introduces owners of an endangered property to preservation advocates and resources that can help preserve their historic property. For more information about the Most Endangered Program, contact Preservation Iowa at (319) 526-8474 or

Here are the 2014 Most Endangered Properties:
Priester Buildings, Bloomfield, Davis County
Forest Grove #5 School, Bettendorf, Scott County
Beers and St. John Company Stagecoach Inn, West Liberty, Muscatine County
Brooklyn Opera House, Brooklyn, Poweshiek County
Historic Unitarian Church, Keokuk, Lee County
Glenwood Archaeological State Preserve, Glenwood, Mills County

(This article includes the portion of the release concerning the Glenwood Culture.)

Glenwood Archaeology Site, Glenwood, Mills County

The newly designated Glenwood Archaeological State Preserve is a unique natural region that contains hundreds of archaeologically significant sites spanning 13,000 years of indigenous, mid-continental history from pre-European contact Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland, and Late Prehistoric periods through more recent historic times.

Most outstanding, however, are the remains of an American Indian culture that existed between A.D. 1250 and 1400 during the latter period of the pre-contact era. Archaeologists refer to this period as either the Nebraska phase of the Central Plains tradition or the Glenwood Culture.

The residents of the site were lodge-dwelling hunters and farmers. Their residential earth lodges were comprised of semi-subterranean hearths, extended entryways, subfloor storage pits and an abundance of artifacts. In the past plowing and erosion from present-day farming practices destroyed many of these sites.

The Preserve is unique as many of the important lodge sites are in the lower elevations of the property and have been covered by up to ten feet of topsoil after years of erosion. Having been designated a State Archaeological Preserve probably assures minimal future degradation.

An agreement between the State Preserves Advisory Board (SPAB) and the Loess Hills Archaeological Interpretive Center (LHAIC) Board of Directors expresses the conditions allowing construction of an Interpretive Center on the Glenwood Archaeological State Preserve. The State Preserve and the site are now protected by a thorough management plan now overseen by the Mills County Conservation Board. Support for the Center’s construction has been assured by and with regional Native American communities. Their Holy Men have blessed the site and the plans to construct the Center.

The time required preparing and obtaining SPAB approval, the present lack of financial resources, and a lack of knowledge/familiarity with preservation grants and procedures have prolonged the future construction of the interpretive and learning center.


Posted on: December 4, 2013

The location for the proposed Loess Hills Archaeological Interpretive Center has been approved by the Iowa Preserves Advisory Board and the search for project funding is beginning.

The location, recommended by the local group planning the center, is on a state preserve at the south edge of Glenwood. The exact site is at the junction of US Highway 34 and Levi Road, the location of what is currently known as Foothills Park.

“This is the news we have been eagerly awaiting. Now we can swing into high gear for fundraising,” said Jean Jaskierny of Glenwood, vice president of The Loess Hills Archaeological Interpretive Center board of directors.

The multi-million dollar center has been in the planning stage for four years. It will be devoted to shedding more light on the earthen-lodge-dwelling Native Americans who lived in the extreme western Iowa and eastern Nebraska area between 600 and 750 years ago. Members of the Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce were briefed on the progress of the project Thursday evening (Nov. 14) during a chamber gathering.

The 907-acre preserve, Iowa’s largest, was previously a part of the state-operated Glenwood Resource Center and is mainly crop land. The re-designation as a preserve was hastened by the evidence that beneath the surface of the tract lie the remains of dozens upon dozens of earth lodges, ancient camping areas and ancient agricultural pursuits. About 30 such sites have been documented over the years.

Jaskierny said the center is envisioned as being not only a significant tourist attraction, but specifically as a major facility for on-going archaeological study of the ancient Americans, which archeologists have named “The Glenwood Culture.”

Current estimates of the project cost are in the range of $8 million to $9 million, said Rob Simmon, head of the local board’s fund-gathering effort. Simmon, of rural Glenwood, said he expects a major part of the funding will come from regional and national sources. Simmon said he also expects some families and organizations to honor specific persons or groups by financing areas of the center which would then bear the honoree’s name.

The soon-to-be-completed new US Highway 34 bridge across the Missouri River will greatly increase the traffic past the site and thus increase tourists’ stops there, center planners say.

“I just don’t think many Glenwood residents and business people realize what the influx of tourists will be in terms of new businesses and expansion of such things as restaurants, service stations, motels and the like,” said Jaskierny. She noted that studies show 370,232 persons live within a 30-minute drive of the center site and 1,863,695 live within a 2-hour drive.

Several Midwestern Colleges, Universities and area high schools, when contacted, have shown interest in being a part of the archeological studies that will continue on the preserve and in the interpretive center.

Detailed blueprints for the center have not yet been produced, “but we already have a professionally produced 45-page full-color document that we can present to prospective funding sources as we seek grants and donations from foundations, corporations, trusts companies and individuals, “ said Simmon.

Preliminary estimates indicate the center would need in the neighborhood of 18,000 square feet to properly display and explain the Glenwood Culture materials and to provide work space for ongoing archeological studies, he said.

The document, prepared by nationally recognized firms of Armadillo Arts and Metzger Johnson Architects, includes not only the known history of the Glenwood Culture Native Americans, but also information on earth lodge sites and artifacts already unearthed, plus sketches of what the center might look like.

The State Preserves Advisory Board has ruled that no construction or site work can begin until the Interpretive Center Board of Directors has in hand enough funds or funding pledges to cover all construction costs. Thus, Simmon said, no date for groundbreaking has been set. He said it is hoped the center could be opened by the end of 2016.

Simmon noted that funds will also be set aside for an endowment fund to help sustain operation of the center after its opening.

News from July 2012

Posted on: September 25, 2012

An Iowa City firm has been selected to prepare a master concept plan for the Loess Hills Archaeological Interpretive Center to be built at Glenwood. The firm, Armadillo Arts, was among eight firms that sought the job.

The final decision to offer the $46,500 contract to Armadillo Arts was made by the interpretive center’s board of directors at a July 16 meeting. The firm is to present the completed plan to the board on or before November 1.

“This is a major step in development of the center. Armadillo will furnish us with a package that will include floor plan drawings, color rendering of what the center’s exterior might look like, along with suggestions for landscaping and signage,” said Rob Simmon of rural Glenwood, chairman of the board’s fundraising committee.

These things are essential when we approach foundations, corporations, businesses, individuals and other prospective donor sources for the building funds,” said Simmon, who prepared and continually updated a powerpoint presentation on the planned center which he has presented to nearly 20 groups.

The board seeks to construct the center on a 12-acre tract at the intersection of Highway 34 and Levi Road on the edge of 907-acre state preserve. The preserve was established in 2009 to stop further harm to the known sites of earth lodges used by Native Americans between 1250 A.D. and 1400 A.D. Archaeological surveys have determined that beneath the surface of the preserve there lies a vast number of earth lodge home sites. The center would utilize displays, interactive displays, theater presentations and other up-to-date methods of telling the story of the Native Americans referred to by archaeologists as the Glenwood Culture.

The center is envisioned as not only a highly significant tourist attraction but also as a major location for on-going research by archaeologists who will be working at the preserve and as a resource facility for high school, college and university programs. A number of such institutes have already shown interest.

The center board, which has reviewed similar centers in the Midwest, is currently estimating the construction cost at about $7 million. Without a master concept plan in hand the board has, to date, gathered over $56,000 in donations, Simmon said.

“With a master plan concept we can show prospective donors what the building might look like and what features will be included. All of this is very important,” said Simmon. He noted that the hiring of architects and engineers to design the center in full detail and draw up construction plans will come after funding has been assured

Wayne Phipps says his step down from the presidency of Loess Hills Archaeological Interpretive Center board of directors will give him more time to concentrate on others matter important to development of the planned center.

Phipps presented his resignation letter to the board at its meeting last week. He maintains his board membership. Vice-president Jean Jaskierny has taken over the board leadership role for the time being.

“We are entering a critical period, and, at the board’s direction, I want to devote my energies toward coordinating progress in several areas,” Phipps.

Phipps has been the board’s liaison with several state agencies that have interest in the center project. He is a member of the Iowa Preserves Board, which has overall control of the preserve, and he is also a member of the Mills County Conservation Board. The state preserves board has delegated management of the preserve to the county conservation board.

January, 2012 Opinion Tribune article

Posted on: January 19, 2012 By Gary Newman A public meeting next Tuesday night, January 24th, will give area residents a clear picture of progress over the last year toward the Loess Hills Archaeological Interpretive Center as well as its historical importance for southwest Iowa. Featured speaker at the meeting will be State Archaeologist John Doershuk, a 34-year veteran of archaeological study and a staunch proponent of the proposed Center. The meeting will be at 6:30 P.M. at the Mills County Engineer’s Office conference room at 403 Railroad Avenue in Glenwood. It will also be the annual organizational meeting of the Center’s planners. Project planning has been underway for two years and the meeting “will include a review of how far we have come and the road ahead of us before construction can begin. The appearance of the state archaeologist attests to the project’s worthiness and to our progress on it,” said Wayne Phipps, current president of the Center’s 17-member board. “There is no substitute for knowing the facts when the Center comes up in conversation,” Phipps said. The Interpretive Center is envisioned as a $6 million to $7 million facility for the further study of the ancient Native American grouping known as the Glenwood Culture that populated this area about 600-900 years ago. It is planned to be on the edge of the 907-acre State Preserve established three years ago on the southeastern outskirts of Glenwood. Beneath its surface lies a vast number of earth lodge home sites of the Glenwood Culture. The Center is to be designed as both a research and resource facility for professionals and college and university programs, as well as containing features that will draw tourists, tour buses and other persons with just a passing interest in the history of Native Americans in general. “The Center will bring notoriety to the area and will be something of which residents can be immensely proud,” said Jean Jaskierny, board vice-president. “I can’t emphasis enough that people interested in additions and improvements to the Mills County area should plan to be at this meeting.” she said. The Center won’t be a museum in the general sense because archaeologists and students will be studying artifacts that have been and will be found on sites in the preserve. Displays will bring to life everyday scenes within the Glenwood Culture and the Center will also display some of the tens of thousands of artifacts that have been stored by the state in Iowa City. There is much to learn about these people and their links to later Native American tribes, backers say. The board is currently in the process of gathering $260,000 in matching funds necessary before the State of Iowa will release a $602,000 grant needed to launch and complete detailed planning for the design and content of the building. The grant was obtained through the Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development non-profit agency office in Oakland, Iowa. The seeking of funds to transform the plans into a brick and mortar building will come next. Board member Rob Simmon heads up the board’s fundraising committee. The board has also established the informational website . This contains much information on the Glenwood Culture and will track progress of the Interpretive Center project. Pamphlets with more details will be available at the Jan. 24th meeting and the informative booklet “The Immense Journey” written by Lynn Alex in Dr. Doershuk’s office can be found at the Glenwood Free Public Library.

June, 2011 Opinion Tribune Article

Posted on: September 14, 2011 Author: Gary Newman It is a bold project: Establishing a multi-million-dollar interpretive center on a large archaeologically-rich tract on the Glenwood outskirts. The center could draw upwards of 40,000 tourists, students, scientists and others through its doors annually. Plans for the center are being carefully formulated, but the general concept might be a one or two-story building with enough square footage to include large interpretive displays, a combination theater and lecture hall, and laboratory space. Planning is in an extremely preliminary stage, but estimated construction figures in the neighborhood of $7 million to $9 million have been spoken of at meetings of a locally-formed group of proponents. If state officials permit, the center will be built on the site of the current Foothills Park at the intersection of Highway 34 and Levi Road. The site is within a tract already designated by the Iowa Legislature as an archeological preserve. A contingent of center proponents met with the Iowa State Preserves Board and came a way with a feeling of preliminary general support of the plan. Area residents need to have accurate information about this project so they can determine how best they may aid in its completion. Understanding of the concept can also correct any misinformation that might arise. It is important to grasp the magnitude of this project that will make Glenwood a destination for visitors and is sure to have a phenomenal impact on Glenwood business activity. The center will spotlight the history of the Native Americans who inhabited this area from about 1325 A.D. until about 150 years later when they mysteriously abandoned the region. Much to the benefit of our city, archeologists have named that group of ancient people who lived in our general area as “the Glenwood Culture.” “These circumstances cry out for an interpretive center and we are not going to miss out on the opportunity --if the community gets wholeheartedly behind the project,” said Glenwood resident Wayne Phipps. He is helping head the core group set on completing the project. A busload of proponents of the project have made overnight trips to interpretive centers in Mitchell, S. D., and Collinsville, Ill. Nearing completion is incorporation of the sponsoring group under the name Loess Hills Archeological Interpretive Center. The incorporation of the non-profit group will allow donations to be tax-exempt. The Board of Directors of the group recently named Rob Simmon, of rural Glenwood, as chairperson of fundraising efforts. Those efforts will extend locally, regionally and nationally. Working with the Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development offices in Oakland, the group has obtained a $400,000 state grant to fund a detailed survey of archeological sites in the preserve. The work will begin this fall. So from where did this sudden interest in the Glenwood Culture come? Well, it just didn’t pop up in the past few months. For decades amateur archeologists in this region have found arrowheads, shards of pottery and other artifacts attesting to those former residents. There was hardly a farmer who didn’t have a small collection of such items gathered from his plowed fields. In the 1930s and 1940s residents of the then-Glenwood State School were aiding archaeologists in excavating discovered sites of the earth and timber mounds that served as homes for the natives. Iowa State Archaeologist John Doershuk recently said, “We have known for a long time that Glenwood has some outstanding national resources.” The local interest reached one milestone in 1991 when a local group built a replica of an earth lodge near Glenwood Lake Park. The group, known as the Glenwood American Indian Earth Lodge Society, rebuilt the lodge in 2006 and it continues to draw hundreds of visitors annually from across the state, the Omaha metropolitan area and from interested tourists. Sadly, a vast number of Glenwood residents have never set foot inside the lodge. Last year the Iowa Legislature turned over to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources the 917- acre tract south and north of Highway 34, establishing it as an archeological state preserve –the state’s largest. The tract had been part of the Glenwood Resource Center’s lands. A small area north of the highway is also part of the preserve, but the Resource Center’s pond south of the highway is not. “This project is going to come to fruition and it is time for interested persons in this region to become familiar with the project, its purposes and its benefits and, of course, its needs.” Archaeologists estimate that as many as 1,000 earth lodge dwellings once covered the loess hills and valleys in the Glenwood locality, all within a ten-mile radius of the confluence of the Platte and Missouri Rivers. Sen. Hubert Houser, R-Carson, has called the preserve “a window into A.D. 1325.” Houser credits former Resource Center Superintendent William Campbell for coming forward with the idea to create the preserve. The proposed site of the center at Foothills Park was chosen after a committee reviewed more than 20 suggested possible sites. The list was narrowed to three: Foothills Park, West Oak county park on the edge of the Loess Hills near I-29, and Glenwood Lake Park. The Board of Directors picked Foothills Park, not the least of reasons being its location on the preserve. Phipps has appeared before both the Glenwood City Council and the Mills County Board of Supervisors to keep those officials abreast of developments. The county board has initially granted the group $5,000 in seed money from the county sales tax receipts. The project is indeed a bold venture, but the center “is going to happen,” Phipps said, adding, “The speed with which it happens depends upon how quickly the community sees the overwhelming benefit of the project and throws its full weight behind it.” You can add your efforts by contacting Phipps (520-4455) co-chairperson Jean Jaskierny (527-9681), or Rob Simmon (527-5948).

Earth Lodge To Be Discussed At Meeting

Posted on: July 13, 2011 By Gary Newman Their names will never be known and exactly what they looked like will probably always be a point of conjecture, but it appears that for a time this family group’s dwelling place was near a small steam in what is now Foothills Park at the edge of Glenwood. The discovery this month of the possible site of an ancient earth lodge came as part of the on-going archaeological survey of the 907-acre Iowa historical preserve being carried on by the State of Iowa Archaeological Office. More than 20 lodge sites dating back to 900 -1400 A.D. are known to exist on the preserve. The apparent earth lodge site is one of several significant finds as survey crew members continue to test borings deep into the soils of the preserve. Early emphasis has been on a 12-acre tract on which it is hoped the Loess Hills Interpretive Center can be built. A public informational meeting conducted by Cindy Peterson of the state archaeologist’s office will be Thursday, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Mills County Engineer’s building at 403 Railroad Avenue. The meeting will familiarize those who attend with the sites on the preserve, methods used in the survey and upcoming work on the project. The survey is expected to continue for several more months. The local Loess Hills Archaeological Interpre-tative Center’s board of directors was formed to sponsor the effort to build the multi-million dollars center at the intersection of Highway 34 and Levi Road. Wayne Phipps, president of that board, said none of the ancient sites located thus far would preclude the use of a portion of the 12-acre tract from being the site of the interpretive center building. The survey, being paid for by a grant secured from the Iowa Department of Transportation by the Golden Hills Resource, Conservation and Develop-ment Agency, is verifying the 107 known archeological sites on the preserve as well as seeking additional sites. Phipps said the center will be a boon to the educational institutions in this region as well as a top tourist attraction. Construction plans and fundraising await a series of steps including survey approval of the proposed building site and transfer of ownership of the site to Mills County, Phipps said.

Archaeological Survey Begins South Of Glenwood

Posted on: June 22, 2011 By Gary Newman The long-awaited archaeological survey has begun on the proposed site for the Loess Hills Archaeological Interpretive Center building on the edge of Glenwood. The five-acre proposed site is on the western edge of the 907-acre state preserve known to contain over 100 archaeological sites significant in tracing the history of the Glenwood Culture Native Americans who inhabited this area from 900 - 1400 A.D. The interpretive center would trace the development of this native group, serving as both a study-research facility and as a tourist destination. The proposed site is the trailhead of Foothills Park at the intersection of Highway 34 and Levi Road. The survey, conducted by the Iowa State Archeologist’s office, will eventually cover the entire preserve seeking buried sites to augment the 100-plus sites known to exist. The survey is beginning at the proposed center site in hopes of quickly clearing the way for design and construction planning to begin. Even if significant sites are determined to be within the five acres, there is a good possibility the construction could be fitted around the sites, leaving them available for excavation and study. Should the proposed site prove to be unusable, project backers have at least one other site under consideration, but it is some distance from the preserve, said Wayne Phipps, president of the 20-member board of Loess Hills Archeological Interpretive Center. The group was formed in 2009 to sponsor the project The board has been heavily engaged in pre-planning, “but we are about as far as we can go until the building site is determined,” said Rob Simmon, head of the board’s funding committee. Simmon said a grant covering 75 percent of the anticipated cost for the center’s design and planning has already been secured by Golden Hills RC&D from the Iowa Department of Transportation. Additional grants from several regional funding sources have been requested to cover most of the remaining 25 percent. He added it is imperative to have the building site assured before embarking on the center’s capital campaign. Building the center, including the interior facilities, display areas, and study areas, will have an estimated cost of between $6 and $7 million. Phipps said specialized architects from several states have already contacted him. Simmon noted the archaeological center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and, thus, all gifts and donations are tax deducible. Simmon said large donors to the project will be given the opportunity to have areas or portions of the building named in the donor’s honor. He said his group will also be soliciting endowment funds to help sustain operation of the center after construction. After establishing the preserve in October 2009, the state in turn reached a management agreement with the Mills County Conservation Board. There are indications the building site, if cleared by the survey, would become the property of Mills County. That would keep the center fully under local control, Phipps noted. Funding for the survey of the entire preserve is coming from a $367,000 grant also by Golden Hills RC&D from the Iowa Department of Transportation. Board members and officers have made several trips to similar projects in Nebraska, Illinois and South Dakota to gain knowledge for the planning and operation of the Glenwood center. Both Phipps and Simmon urged area residents to learn more about the Glenwood Culture peoples along with the plans and possibilities of the interpretative center by checking out the booklet “The Immense Journey” at the Glenwood Library. Also, pamphlets are available and an interpretive center web site is in the process of being established. “It is obvious that the center will be a boon to schools and universities and several have already expressed support for the project including the University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Creighton University. But the community has to realize what a tourist draw this facility will be and what it will mean to Glenwood progress,” Phipps said.

Article from Opinion Tribune’s “A Cup of Joe”

Posted on: January 11, 2011 By Joe Foreman, Opinion-Tribune Editor Like many of you, I know very little about the Glenwood Culture, the Native Americans who occupied this area of the state from around 900 to 1400 A.D., but I’m sure we could all learn a lot about these people when the archeological interpretive center being proposed for the Glenwood area becomes a reality. The interpretive center took a major step forward with the recent announcement that a $600,000 state planning grant had been awarded for the project by the Iowa Department of Transportation. The interpretive center is expected to carry a price tag of more than $6 million and would be situated south of Highway 34 on the edge of an archeological preserve that takes in the trailhead for the Foothills Park walking trail near Levi Road. Proponents of the project envision the facility being not only a center for learning, but a regional tourist attraction as well. Not only are local volunteers on board for this project, but archeological types from the University of Iowa and other Midwest colleges are excited about it as well. Credit Wayne Phipps and his team of volunteers along with the Golden Hills Resource Conserva-tion and Development agency for pushing this project forward. There’s still a ways to go, but the interpretive center could be a facility that truly puts Glenwood on the map.
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