A Visit to Glenwood


Around 30 miles west of Hot Springs is the small town of Glenwood. The city is located near the Caddo
in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains.

I was in town this week and made a stop at a shop/museum I enjoy in town called Billy’s House of Guitars, which is run by Billy Herrell. Here is an article I wrote on the museum awhile back in case you  might want to head there sometime.
Since the Caddo River is right here, canoeing and kayaking is a big draw to the area. Three outfitters in town include Caddo River Camping & Canoe Rental. The store has been in the area for over 25 years but have new owners as of this year in David and Gayla Claborn. The Claborn’s said the river is good for beginning canoeists with Class I and II rapids and have a fleet that includes 189 canoes, 80 kayaks, and 125 tubes. They also offer shuttle service for those with their own equipment. For more details visit www.caddoriver.com.
Another outfitter is Lucky’s headed by Thomas Kerberskey. Kerberskey said they offer three different float trips. More details about this outfit (which has been in business around 5 years and is located at 3 Baker Road) can be found at www.caddocanoeandkayak.com. Arrowhead Cabin and Canoe Rentals is also in town. More information can be found at www.arrowheadcabinandcanoe.com.

 Also of note, the town is bringing back a festival called Caddo River Fest and Trade Days, which has been set for June 3-4.

 As to the history of the area, the town’s origins can be traced to a number of ventures that began in the 1900’s including the building of the Gurdon and Fort Smith Railroad (G&FTS). Construction on this rail line began in 1905 and a number of new communities, including Glenwood, were a result of this venture.

In 1907, the Caddo River Lumber Company built a large mill at Rosboro. Soon a few more companies moved into the area near a railroad
depot in the town. With new mills under construction and the railroad in operation, two businessmen, Curt Hays and Will Fagan, laid out a new town site (Glenwood) on both sides of the depot. The town grew almost overnight.

A few years later, the Memphis, Dallas, and Gulf Railroad (MD&G) opened new tracks between Glenwood and Hot Springs. This made
the town a major rail junction and one of the centers of the lumber industry in the southern Ouachita Mountains. The population of the area continued to grow when A. L. Clark Lumber Company built its own residential “town” for employees near its mill.

In 1922, the Caddo River Lumber Company purchased the A. L. Clark Company mill and expanded it. In 1936, a lighting strike started a fire that destroyed most of this mill complex. Though the mill remained open for over a year, the company did not plan to rebuild the complex. Soon, the
company relocated its entire operation to Oregon, taking many of the town’s prominent families with it. The town was able to survive the exodus of people due to a number of lumber operations that sprang up in the wake of the disaster. 

In 1942, a new manganese processing plant was opened west of town. At the same time, a global shortage of mercury caused by World War II led to mining of that mineral in the area. These mills and their work force gave a boost to the local economy.

In the 1970s Curt Bean Lumber Company, one of the nation’s largest independently owned lumber producers, located its lumber mill in town. In 1994, the Glenwood Golf Club & Lodge was opened. Today, the population in town is around 2,100. The town is near many recreational outlets such as the Caddo River and the Ouachita National Forest. The town is also near Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Mount Ida and Daisy State Park. Glenwood is centrally located between three major lakes: Greeson, Ouachita, and DeGray.
Join the Conversation