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Learn blacksmithing at Glidden Homestead

The Glidden Homestead Historical Center in DeKalb will host a discussion and hands-on blacksmithing demonstration March 24.
The Glidden Homestead Historical Center in DeKalb will host a discussion and hands-on blacksmithing demonstration March 24.

DeKALB – Jump into the art of blacksmithing at Glidden Homestead with a presentation March 24.

J. F. Glidden Homestead member Marty O’Connor will host a discussion and hands-on demonstration in the Glidden Homestead Historical Center and in the Blacksmith Shop. He will lead “Basic Blacksmithing” from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 4 p.m., he will teach “Fundamental Forging.”

Although geared for beginners, this program welcomes experienced smiths who wish to participate and perhaps expand the existing network of volunteers. There is a fee of $20 a participant.

Glidden Homestead has featured blacksmithing demonstrations and classes since 2010. In the days before hardware and home improvement stores, blacksmiths worked with 2000-degree steel, forming and shaping it. They made useful and essential objects, as well as ornate decorative objects.

“Blacksmiths have recently been big on television, but historically their role in a town was so much larger than we imagine today,” Rob Glover, executive director of Glidden Homestead, said in a news release. “Now, aspiring blacksmiths can watch blacksmithing up close, meet people who share their interests and learn new skills.”

The Phineas Vaughan Blacksmith Shop at the Glidden Homestead commemorates the downtown DeKalb shop of Phineas T. W. Vaughan, a frequent collaborator with Joseph Glidden. Vaughan held several patents for devices from the 1860s to the 1880s. He held a number of joint patents with Glidden.

Vaughan, born in 1827, came to Illinois when he was about 19. When he moved to DeKalb in 1851, he worked as a blacksmith and a wagon maker. Vaughan died Sept. 17, 1897.

The Glidden Homestead, at 921 W. Lincoln Highway, is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays or by special arrangement.

For information, visit www.gliddenhomestead.org, email info@gliddenhomestead.org or call 815-756-7904.

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