Glidden Homestead opens for 'Center of It All' season

DeKALB – Glidden Homestead and Historical Center will open for the programing season and visitor tours of the site on Sunday, May 5.

From noon to 4 p.m., the public is invited to Opening Day, Open Barn to see the new aspects of the Homestead’s 2019 season, tour Joseph Glidden’s home where barbed wire was invented, see a working blacksmith shop, and visit the 1870s brick barn. At 1 p.m., after a short dedication with DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith, the electricity in the Glidden Barn will be officially restored.

This year’s theme is "Center of It All." Glidden’s invention of barbed wire greatly impacted the community, yet his overall focus was on developing that community for the next 30 years. And Glidden remained at the center of it all -- preserving and sharing the unique history of the community; creating a destination where families, businesses and visitors want to be; and building cultural diversity, artistic expression, the natural environment and the social interactions that continue to enrich our lives.

“‘Restoring electricity to the historic Glidden Barn is a huge step in the continued restoration of the barn’s interior and it’s time to celebrate all of the help in our community that made it possible,” Rob Glover, Glidden Homestead executive director, said in a news release. “This is a fun occasion that will kick off a great 2019 season and gives everyone the opportunity to see the Glidden Barn in a new light.”

John Glidden, Joseph Glidden’s nephew who later owned and lived at Glidden Homestead, brought electricity to DeKalb in 1891 and made DeKalb a leader in electrical innovation for the next decade.

Joseph Glidden developed barbed wire in DeKalb in 1873 and went on to patent numerous other inventions. Barbed wire production continued at the Homestead site through the winter of 1873 into the spring of 1874, when the operation moved into town.

Glidden built the Glidden House Hotel in downtown DeKalb that opened in 1877. In June 1879, J.F. Glidden Publishing bought the DeKalb County Chronicle that had been started earlier that year. Glidden was mayor of DeKalb from 1881-1883.

The Glidden Homestead, located at 921 W. Lincoln Highway, is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays or by special arrangement. Admission is $4 per adult and free for children younger than 14.

For more information, visit, email or call 815-756-7904.