In the early 1930’s people started finding evidence of earth lodges in the Loess Hills around Glenwood. Archaeologists were called in and they checked the ones which were found. When highway 34 from Glenwood was built over the hill to Interstate 29, many artifacts including burial sites were found. The archaeologists were again called in. This delayed the finish of the highway for about two years. As the items were carbon dated, it was found those people lived around the area from about 900- to 1400 AD. From all the information uncovered at that time, a group of people from the area formed a society. This was called the Glenwood Earth Lodge Society. They started building a reproduction of the lodge using the information found in the excavations. It has been a good attraction for many people to see how the people lived so many years ago.There are about 200 known earth lodge sites in this area. There have only been about 70 excavated. The Glenwood Earth Lodge is the only reconstructed Earth Lodge in the State of Iowa.
The first lodge was built and lasted about 14 years. In 2004 the roof caved in and some of the timbers collapsed. The heavy snow and heavy rains during the winter of 2004 and 2005 did the damage to the old lodge. The Society, along with Golden Hills RC&D, received grants to build a new lodge. The old lodge was burned August 28, 2005 in a special ceremony. A new one was built in 2006 and dedicated Keg Creek Days August 27, 2006.
There is a charge to get in to see the lodge. An appointment has to be made. There is a replica of the lodge in the Mills County Historical Museum. There is also a film showing the unearthing of lodges when Highway 34 was built and a film showing the building of the first lodge. The films can be viewed by appointment.
When the Society started building the first lodge they ran into some powdery soil. They had to move the structure to the east. They sent the dust to be tested. It was volcanic ash from pre-Iceage times.