Church Hill

We have had several researchers asking about the early churches in Glenwood, so I thought I would share a bit of the information with all of you.

Glenwood 1910

Glenwood 1910

This map from 1910 shows the locations of the early churches in Glenwood. The Lutheran and Methodist churches were on block 5. (Today Central Square is located between blocks 6 and 5.) The Catholic church was on block 9. That is the only early church building still standing. It is an apartment building today. The Congregational church was on block 19 and the Episcopal church was on block 20. Today, the Episcopal church is here on the grounds at the Pope County Historical Society.

Jim Gloege wrote a lovely description of church hill that I will share with you all here.

Church Hill – by James Gloege

Were I to choose some visible signature for Glenwood’s coming-of-age decade, it would have to be the tall, gleaming white apartment structure that so strikingly holds the brow of the hill overlooking Franklin Avenue from Central Square. There isn’t a handsomer example of architectural “re-purposing” anywhere, nor perhaps is there any other building that so deeply bespeaks our town’s innermost past…because it represents no less than five churches that stood, during that decade, on or near what was then called “church hill.”

Norwegian Lutheran Church (Glenwood Lutheran)

Norwegian Lutheran Church
(Glenwood Lutheran)

At that time two of Glenwood’s original wooden churches, the Lutheran and the Methodist, held the space now occupied by Central Square’s parking lot. Both had their own adjourning burial grounds – later moved away to constitute the beginnings of our present-day cemetery. Just one block down the street from these two churches in the direction of the Court House stood a similarly old Congregational Church which was replaced in the middle of the same decade by a new and grander one – that sand-colored stone edifice long to be Glenwood’s showiest public building. Exactly one block downhill from there, tucked between a lumber yard and hotel on Franklin Avenue, stood the graceful little Episcopal Church building which was later moved up amongst the others at the top of the hill – and still later to the Historical Society grounds where you can see it today. And lastly, in 1903, local Catholics constructed

Methodist Church

Methodist Church

the only one of all these church buildings still to be found on the hill.

Between 1901 and 1910 Glenwood grew prodigiously and attained, very nearly, the population it has held ever since. Behind the stable numbers however, mighty shifts are symbolized by the fate of church hill. The Congregational and Methodist flocks flourished for a time but ultimately shrank, and finally united with each other while Episcopalians disappeared altogether: all this as our Yankee blood migrated restlessly westward – the Vermonters and upstate New Yorkers, those Kinneys and Lathrops who had founded and largely dominated 19th century Glenwood. Meanwhile both Lutheran and Catholic congregations have grown into their larger churches built on other sites, as more and more Norwegian and Czech families filled in the community from the outlying townships. But what this gleaming white building on the hill recalls for us today was a decade of rich balance when the bells marking each baptism and wedding and funeral across five

Congregational Church

Congregational Church

denominations rang so regularly and at such close range as to sound as one heartbeat for the town.

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Reminder – Meeting October 10

Please join us for our Annual Meeting tomorrow – Saturday, October 10 at 1:00. This year’s meeting will be held at Peters’ Sunset Beach Resort.

The museum will be closed tomorrow afternoon.

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Annual Meeting October 10th

Please join us for our Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 10 at 1:00. This year’s meeting will be held at Peters’ Sunset Beach Resort. 
Jim Peters will present a short program on the development of the “Summer Hotel” through the years.  The Historical Society business meeting will follow.  The agenda includes financial reports, election of directors, and discussion of ownership of museum building and land, and a proposed bylaw revision. Full details of the proposed by-law revision are available in the newsletter. Click the link to read more:

Newsletter Sept 2015 combined


“Through the Tourists’ Eyes: Glenwood Minnesota” a photographic history of Glenwood is now on hand!  Written and compiled by Todd Gylsen, the book shows the history of Glenwood over the past 150 years through the eyes of the tourist. The book retails for $40 +tax, and is available at the Pope County Museum.

Nearly 150 years ago, Alfred Lathrop and Kirk Kinney laid out the town site of Glenwood, Minnesota. In the intervening years, Glenwood has grown into a vibrant community.  This hard cover, coffee table book by Todd Gylsen will approach Glenwood history from a unique angle.  It seeks to illustrate the history of Glenwood as seen by tourists.

Looking at Glenwood through the tourist’s eye allows Gylsen to examine the changes in transportation, amenities, businesses, and scenic areas of Glenwood over time. These changes had profound impact on local residents as well as tourists. Glenwood continues to change—and to attract visitors

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Roof Project Update II

Work on the museum roof began in earnestIMG_9873 on Tuesday, September 8.  Starting from the front of the building, the crew from Buttweilers Do-All removed the tar and rock “hot roof”, added 2 1/2 inches of insulation, and glued down a new rubber membrane roof surface.

Not all of the work is on the roof, however. The skylight dome in the museum lobby had to be supported from the inside.  Project coordinator, Les Tschida, remembers the skylight falling to the lobby floor when he worked on our roof in 1988.  He made necessary precautions to prevent this.  A slight improvement from the top also eliminates this danger in the future.


We apologize for the inconvenience and the “noise from the neighbors upstairs” as the project advances.

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Roofing Project!

003At long last, our roof will be replaced!

It was severely damaged in the August 1, 2011 storm. Immediately after the storm, Merlin and I came in and inspected the museum and grounds. We lost several trees, but miraculously, not one of them hit a structure.

Unfortunately, the strong winds lifted off a corner of the building and folded back a portion of the roof. We had the roof patched right away to protect the artifacts, but needed a complete replacement.storm 2 011

After extensive fundraising and negotiations with the Pope County Commissioners, the project will begin on Tuesday morning.

Pope County residents, please contact your County Commissioners and let them know how important it is that they continue their support of the Historical Society and help to maintain the building that houses our county’s treasures.

Here is their contact information taken directly from the Pope County website.

District 1 : (White Bear Lake, Minnewaska, Starbuck)
Larry Kittelson (320) 239-2138

District 2: (City of Glenwood, Precinct #1, NE, SE & SW Quadrants)
Gordy Wagner (320) 634-3008

District 3: (Lake Johanna, Gilchrist, Chippewa Falls, Glenwood TWP, Sedan, Bangor, Grove Lake)
Paul Gerde (320) 278-3762

District 4: (Nora, New Prairie, Walden, Blue Mounds, Barsness, Ben Wade, Hoff, Langhei, Lowry Rolling Forks, Cyrus & Farwell)
Larry Lindor (320) 795-2495

Distric 5: (Reno, Leven, Westport TWP, Villard, Westport City Long Beach, City of Glenwood, Precinct #2 NW Quadrant)
Cody Rogahn (320) 634-0312

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St. Paul’s Church Service this Sunday

The public is invited to attend the annual church service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the grounds of the Pope County Museum Sunday at 10:00 am. The congregation of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Alexandria will be using the historic prayer books and hymnals that were in use when St. Paul’s had an active congregation. This is an annual event for Emmanuel, and by holding the yearly service, the church remains consecrated.

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Archaeology in Pope County

IMG_2611It has been an exciting couple of weeks here in Pope County. Archaeologists from the Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Historical Society have been conducting a dig at the DNR office site. The DNR will be constructing a new office, and the archaeologists are digging at the site before construction begins next month.


This is the first archaeological dig in Pope County that is not a burial site, but rather a camp site.IMG_2608

They are finding potsherds from both woodland and prairie cultures, bones (discarded from meals), flakes of stone created in the making of arrowheads & spear points, and intriguing pieces such as a clay pipe stem and a bear claw.

All the artifacts will be cleaned, analyzed and cataloged over the winter.

IMG_2614The public is invited to stop out and visit them at the dig site on the hill above the trout ponds at the fish hatchery on North Lakeshore Drive. It is a rare opportunity for us all to learn more about the people who lived here before white settlement.

The team has been very gracious in sharing information with us here at the museum about the tools and pottery fragments in our own collection.

Here are a just few pieces they identified for us:

Brainerd ware fragment. Minnesota's earliest pottery. There is much debate about its age, but possibly from 1000 BCE (BC) - 400 CE (AD).

Brainerd ware fragment. Minnesota’s earliest pottery. There is much debate about its age, but possibly from 1000 BCE (BC) – 400 CE (AD).


Plains Village pottery fragments.

Plains Village pottery fragments probably from 1-1300 CE (AD).

Pecked stone maul head. The groove was made by striking this stone with another.

Pecked stone maul head. The groove was made by striking this stone with another. This was found in Barsness Park.

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