Glidden Homestead celebrates 160th anniversary

DeKALB – Joseph Glidden saw his newly built home completed 160 years ago this year.

Visitors can celebrate the occasion on Sunday, Oct. 10. 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.

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

In 1860, Joseph Glidden, his wife Lucinda, and his daughter Elva lived in a cabin that dated from the time of Joseph’s arrival in DeKalb in 1845. At a site on Glidden’s property just west of the cabin, Joseph, then 48, hired Jacob Haish, 35, to build a new home just as the Civil War began. It’s thought that the design for the Glidden home comes from an architectural pattern book, but exactly which book is unknown.

“The Illinois House of Representatives and the State Senate recently recognized the 160th anniversary of the home,” Rob Glover, executive director of Glidden Homestead, said in a news release. “Everyone is invited to see and tour the home and join in the celebration here.”

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.

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.

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