Dr. Deiss selected the South Boulder Valley as the site for the Field Station because "the region offers more extensive and varied geologic phenomena than any other area of equal size in the United States." After a July 1948 visit by the IU Purchasing Agent and the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, the present site was selected for purchase.
The land was part of the original homestead holdings of the Brownback family, dating back to about 1880. The land had reverted to the state of Montana in 1929, and was under lease by Whitehall rancher Frank Koontz. After considerable legal work—the State of Montana was not sure it could reasonably sell part of its territory to the State of Indiana in the person of the trustees of Indiana University—60 acres were purchased in the name of IU Treasurer J.A. Franklin and his wife. The deed is dated December 30, 1948, and the Franklins assigned the deed to the Trustees of Indiana University on December 31, 1948. The 60 acres cost $5 per acre, for a total cost of $305 (including a $5 filing fee). Today, land in this valley goes for about $1,000 per acre—or more.
Charles Deiss was born in Covington, Kentucky, on March 18, 1903. He pursued his undergraduate degree at Miami of Ohio, and received the Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1928, followed immediately by his first faculty position at Montana State University (formerly University of Montana). His diverse interests and expertise ranged from Cambrian stratigraphy and trilobite research to field mapping and structural geology. During his tenure with the University of Montana, he also worked with the Montana Bureau of Mines and the Montana Power Company, and during World War II he worked for the USGS on dolomite exploration and phosphate rock studies throughout the western United States.
His tenure at Indiana from 1945 to 1959, in addition to the creation of the Field Station, saw a legacy of a much stronger Geological Survey, and the IU Geology Department also was built to a larger group of faculty.
Charles Deiss was director of the Field Station for its first two years, and he continued to have a strong role in the programs here (usually leading the Glacier Trip) until his death, June 13, 1959, at age 56. The Deiss Scholarship Fund honors him, and the Lodge was named in his memory at the 1999 50th Anniversary celebration.