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Joseph Farwell Glidden's invention of one of the most widely-used types of barbed wire in 1873 helped change the history of the American West and had far-reaching impact throughout the world. His Homestead in DeKalb, IL, is being preserved and restored by a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995. Both the home and the barn are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We welcome your visit and encourage your membership!


The J.F. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center is raising funds to “paint the porch” of the home of “The Father of Barbed Wire.”
This treasured farmhouse, located at 921 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and as a museum shares the story of Joseph Glidden, his family’s entrepreneurial spirit, and barbed wire and the role it played in building the city of DeKalb.
Contributions toward the porch painting project can be made by mailing payment to the Glidden Homestead, 921 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, contributing to the fundraiser on their Facebook page, or by visiting their website at www.gliddenhomestead.org/donate. All donors will be invited to a reception at the homestead in April.
Glidden was a philanthropic founder of the city, perhaps most revered for donating the land for what would become Northern Illinois University. He was fondly known as the “Grand Old Man of DeKalb County” for his countless contributions.
In 1861, Joseph and his wife Lucinda Warne built a stately red-brick home on the farmstead. Although an unusual style in the Midwest, the home was reminiscent of styles found in the Northeast, the area where Glidden had grown up. After Glidden moved off the farm and into town in 1877, family members and farm managers lived in the home and managed the farm. Upon Glidden’s death in 1906, his nephew John became the owner, modernizing the home with electrical, plumbing, heating, and architectural updates. John’s daughter Jessie and her brother Carter were the last Gliddens to live in the home. After Carter’s death in 1998, Jessie moved from the home, but not before assuring that Joseph Glidden’s legacy in the development of not only DeKalb but indeed the nation was perpetuated.

We have "closed" for the winter, and will be open only for programs, or by appointment. See the "Calendar" tab. Call 815-756-7904 or email info@gliddenhomestead.org for more information.

Become a MEMBER today.
Or JOIN online: HERE.

Research by NIU History graduate student and Glidden Homestead intern Hannah Palsa over Joseph F. Glidden's Percheron horses. Glidden owned and bred Percheron horses for many years which allows for a greater understanding of Glidden's horse husbandry and impact on the Percheron draft horse. Read about the impact HERE.

Thanks for making the 2022 DeKalb County Barn Tour a great success!

See you August 12, 2023 with a new selection of great DeKalb County barns.


The DeKalb County Barn Tour is a one-day driving tour of barn sites within DeKalb County hosted by the JF Glidden Homestead & Historical Center and the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association.

See the Facebook page.
921 W. Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, IL 60115
(815) 756-7904
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homestead blacksmith barn