Glenwood, Iowa

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Glenwood is a city in Mills County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,358 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Mills County[1].



Located in a hollow of the Loess Hills, Glenwood was established by Mormons in 1848 as Coonsville and prospered during the California Gold Rush largely due to the grain mill on Keg Creek. Coonsville was the scene of anti-Mormon mob violence, became the county seat of Mills County in 1851, and was renamed Glenwood after the bulk of Mormons left for Utah in 1852. The community was active in the creation of Nebraska Territory in 1854, including two Glenwood attorneys elected to the Nebraska territorial legislature who were run out of town for accepting shares in Scriptown. At the end of the Civil War, an Iowa Veteran's Orphans Home was located here where evangelist Billy Sunday spent time as a child.

The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad was completed through Glenwood in 1869 and during the late 19th century the community was widely known as Iowa's center of fruit production, particularly apples, and hosted an annual Apple Carnival. Other early industries included an iron foundry, an expansive marble and stone works, the Glenwood Creamery, and a large cannery that covered a city block on the east side of Locust Street and distributed its products under the brand-name "The Glenwood". Darting & McGavern's "Sanitary" cannery on South Vine and Railroad Avenue canned tomatoes, pumpkin, apples, and beets into the 1920s.

In 1876 the State Veteran's Orphan's Home at Glenwood became the Iowa Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children, the 7th such facility in the country and the first located west of the Mississippi River. The Glenwood facility expanded greatly with the treatment of mental retardation and acceptance of eugenics and became the Iowa Institution for Feeble-Minded Children. The grounds and now demolished Administration Building were largely patterned on the Kirkbride Plan, as state funding permitted. The institution has long dominated Glenwood both economically and culturally although the IIFMC was self-sufficient and the residents were intentionally isolated from the rest of the town. By 1925 the Glenwood IIFMC was the home of 1,555 inmates categorized between idiots, imbeciles, and morons. The IIFMC became the Glenwood State-Hospital School in 1941 and during the early 1950s covered 1,185 acres (5 km2) with 310 staff members responsible for the 1,968 patients who were subjected to state-mandated sterilization and experiments. Deinstitutionalization of Glenwood began in the late 1950s, especially after the November 17, 1957 Des Moines Register revealed that Mayo Buckner had spent 59 years confined to Glenwood with a 120 IQ. National attention came to Buckner and the Glenwood State-Hospital School in the December 9, 1957 issue of Time Magazine and the March 25, 1958 issue of Life Magazine. The transformation from traditional ward buildings into group home styled cottages was largely completed during the 1970s. The facility is now known as the Glenwood Resource Center.

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