The Homestead: History
History            Exhibits
homesteadFor almost 20 years, Joseph Glidden lived in a log cabin he built on his 600-acre property after settling in DeKalb during the farming season of 1842. The prosperous farmer lost his first wife, Clarissa, in 1843, after previously losing their two sons in an epidemic. In 1861 Joseph and his second 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.

Jessie Glidden was instrumental in having the house and barn listed on the National Register of Historic Places with the National Park Service. She also developed the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center, the nonprofit organization that owns and cares for the site today.

Glidden Homestead is an emerging living-history museum where the hard work, innovative thought, foresight, and generosity of those who brought us into the twenty-first century encourage those same qualities in the innovators and developers of tomorrow.
blacksmith barn