1 2 3 4 5 6
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!


Join us for "Open Barn Day!"

From noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center’s Open Barn Day will give visitors a chance to see the inside of the historic barn where “The Winner” barbed wire was invented.
The barn, located at 921 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, between Burger King and Glidden Florist, is perhaps the most historically significant in the country, according to historic preservationist Roger Keys, because it is where Glidden invented and manufactured the first practical barbed wire. Keys, who has done much work on the Homestead house and barn, will help give tours.
The brick barn was built between 1861-71. Glidden’s first barbed wire manufacturing office was located in the southeast corner of the barn.
The Phineas Vaughan Blacksmith Shop at the Glidden Homestead also will be open and operating that day. Volunteer blacksmiths will provide a glimpse into living-history as they provide demonstrations of the craft. The historic Glidden home will also be open for tours.
More activities will be added to this special day -- stay tuned!
The Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center is a not-for-profit organization working to preserve the home and barn, while providing educational opportunities to the public. The house and Welcome Center are open from noon to 4 p.m. each Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults; children younger than 14 and homestead members are admitted free. For more information, call 815-756-7904

We will be open EVERY Sunday, 12-4 PM. See the "Calendar" tab for programs. 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
Map It!

homestead blacksmith barn