Learn about the railroad at the Glidden Homestead

DeKALB – Get “all aboard” at the Glidden Homestead to learn more about railroads and how they function.

Bill Cummings will present a program on railroads at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 25. From noon to 4 p.m. that day, visitors can tour Joseph Glidden’s Home and Homestead where barbed wire was invented, see a working blacksmith shop, and visit the 1870s brick barn.

Cummings is a retired Northern Illinois University professor of accounting and has convened a class about WWI and Christmas Traditions in the NIU Lifelong Learning Institute.

The railroad first came to DeKalb in 1853. Joseph Glidden granted right of way through his property because he felt certain it would be a great boon to DeKalb.

“Joseph Glidden played a key role in the railroad running through DeKalb in 1853,” Rob Glover, Glidden Homestead executive director, said in a news release. “The railroad, in turn, played a key role in influencing why and how DeKalb developed.”

This year’s theme at the Homestead is “A Treasure at 160,” since 2021 marks the 160th anniversary of Joseph Glidden’s home. A National Register of Historic Place site, the home was extensively remodeled in 1910 by a prominent architect, and continued as a Glidden family residence until it became a museum in 1998.

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.

A tentative program listing for the 2021 season can be found at www.gliddenhomestead.org/events.html. Programs at Glidden Homestead are made possible in part by the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.

The Glidden Homestead, located at 921 W. Lincoln Highway, is taking reservations for tours. Admission costs $4 per adult, and is free for children younger than 14.

For more information, visit www.gliddenhomestead.org, email info@gliddenhomestead.org or call 815-756-7904.