DeKALB – Joseph Glidden didn’t just make barbed wire. He made horses, too.
Glidden was one of the first people to introduce the Percheron horse to this region and helped initiate its use on farms here. He bred and raised the horses in the 1870 brick barn at the Glidden Homestead. Later, Glidden’s involvement in Percheron breeding leads to an Illinois Appellate Court case in 1893.
Rob Glover, Glidden Homestead executive director, will present the program “Percherons: The Glidden Horses” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22. Also on that day, from noon to 4 p.m., 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.
“Many people don’t associate Percherons with Joseph Glidden,” Glover said in a news release. “But his work with them is unique and is as innovative as his work with barbed wire. Sources even allow us to trace by name many of the horses he bred.”
Programs at Glidden Homestead are made possible in part by the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.
This year’s theme is “A Treasure at 160” since 2021 marks the 160th anniversary of Joseph Glidden’s home. A National Register of Historic Place site, it is the home where Glidden lived when he invented barbed wire. 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 program listing for the 2021 season can be found at www.gliddenhomestead.org/events.html.
The Glidden Homestead, located at 921 W. Lincoln Highway, is taking reservations for tours. Admission is $4 per adult and free for children younger than 14.