DeKALB – Averil Schreiber explored one of her passions Sunday during a local history bus tour featuring sites related to DeKalb founding father Joseph F. Glidden.
“I love history, and while there is so much in DeKalb, Glidden is the most important,” Schreiber said. “And you can always learn something more.”
The tour, narrated by historian Steve Bigolin and organized as part of the Joseph H. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center’s Patent Day celebration, included the former DeKalb Public Hospital, the site of the former Daily Chronicle building at First Street and Lincoln Highway, and Founders Memorial Library at Northern Illinois University, which features a portrait of Glidden in its foyer.
The tour began driving on Lucinda Avenue, which is named after Glidden’s wife. The group drove past the Art Building, previously known as the Glidden Football Field. At Evergreen Cemetery, the group visited the unmarked grave of Glidden’s parents and sisters.
At Fairview Cemetery, they saw the grave sites of Joseph, Lucinda, Jessie and Annie Glidden, and learned about the prominent family. Jessie Glidden was the only family member born at the homestead and ran Glidden Florist after her father, John – Joseph’s nephew – died in 1941. Annie Glidden, Joseph Glidden’s niece and John Glidden’s sister, served as hostess of the Glidden House Hotel, was active in local charities and won a state award for her high corn-crop yields.
The Glidden Homestead, 921 W. Lincoln Highway, is where Joseph Glidden invented and made “The Winner” barbed wire that was patented Nov. 24, 1874. The house and barn, built in the 1860s, are listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Sunday’s program was among several planned this year to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Joseph Glidden’s birth.
Schreiber found Bigolin’s narrative to be the best part of the tour, while Pat Conway, a member of the Glidden Homestead and the Ellwood House Association, couldn’t pinpoint a favorite part of the tour. She said she enjoyed the whole thing.
“Barbed wire is such an old and respected wire,” Conway said.
Learn more about the Joseph H. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center at gliddenhomestead.org.