Glidden Homestead to Host Annual Open Barn Day June 23

From noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 23, the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center’s Open Barn Day will give visitors a unique chance to see the inside of the historic barn where “The Winner” barbed wire was invented and initially manufactured.

Admission is $5 for adults; children younger than 14 and Homestead members are admitted free.

The barn, located at 921 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, 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 work on the Homestead house and barn, will give tours every half hour starting at noon.

The brick barn was built circa 1870. 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 docent-led tours starting at 12:30 and 2:30 pm. There will be a farm animal craft available for children.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Glidden’s “The Winner” patent, the most widely-used barbed wire in the world, which also earned Glidden the title “The Father of Barbed Wire.” In September the Homestead will celebrate by hosting a barbed wire exposition show in coordination with the Antique Barbed Wire Society, and other community-wide events. For more information visit, email or call 815-756-7904.


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