Tours of barbed wire national historic site offered

DeKALB – Visitors can experience the site where the innovative development of barbed wire happened when they visit the Glidden Homestead and Historical Center.

From noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, visitors can tour the home where Joseph Glidden and his family lived when he created his most famous invention and see a working on-site blacksmith shop. Glidden’s brick barn can be considered a monument for the invention of barbed wire, a symbol of innovation in the Midwest. It has been called “the most important barn in the country.”

“This time of year, in October 1873, Glidden created his first piece of barbed wire,” Rob Glover, Glidden Homestead executive director, said in a news release. “There’s something for everyone to connect with their history, both inside and outside.”

Joseph Glidden went on to patent numerous other inventions. Barbed wire production continued at the homestead site through winter 1873 into spring 1874, when the operation moved to 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 to 1883.

Programs at Glidden Homestead are made possible in part by the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.

A full season of programs highlighting the theme "Center of It All" continues at the Glidden Homestead in 2019. A program listing can be found at

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

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