Annual Patent Day and Homestead’s 150th Anniversary Includes Bus Tour


Glidden Homestead’s Annual Patent Day and Celebration of the Homestead’s 150th Anniversary (built in 1861) will be this Sunday, November 6th. Several new stops are planned this year for the annual Barbed Wire Historic Sites Bus Tour as part of the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead’s Patent Day celebration.

The Annual Patent Day event celebrates the 137th anniversary of the date Joseph F. Glidden received his patent for “The Winner” barbed wire—Nov. 24, 1874. Special displays, Homestead tours, and the working Blacksmith shop also will be part of the day’s events, with the Homestead open from noon-4pm on Sunday.

Stop in the Glidden Homestead’s Welcome Center to check out their Holiday Sales Tables. From stuffed animals to table runners, decorative boxes and angels, gift wrap to candles and glass ornaments – everything is priced to sell. There’s even an artificial Christmas tree – never been used, in box for $15. You’ll find a wide array of unique barbed wire items perfect for holiday gifts, as well.

Also new this year is a special photo display at the Homestead,  courtesy of Tegrant/Alloyd Products, now located in the former Abram Ellwood Mfg. Co., at 14th and Pleasant streets. Reuben Ellwood, brother of Isaac, started a farm implement business in Sycamore. Reuben would eventually be elected to Congress. He died in 1885, and his son, Abram, moved the operation to DeKalb in 1892. On display at the Glidden Homestead will be early photos of the Ellwood plant, and later American Steel & Wire Co., during the wire production years.

In addition to many historic sites around DeKalb, new features of the Barbed Wire Sites Bus Tour this year include a stop inside the former I.L. Ellwood Mfg Co. (sometimes referred to as the Red Shops, now the home of Mooney Chevrolet at 204 N. 4th St. (built around 1877). This is the building where Isaac Ellwood, in partnership with the Washburn and Moen Company, began the next phase of barbed wire production in a way the world could not have imagined. Participants also will be able to step inside the Ellwood Family Mausoleum to view the stunning stained glass window during the tour’s stop at Fairview Park Cemetery. 

The Barbed Wire Bus Tour departs the Glidden Homestead at 2pm, and will be led by local historian, Steve Bigolin, with additional insight from Glidden board member, Jeff Marshall. Cost for the approximately two-hour tour of DeKalb’s historically-significant barbed wire sites is $10, with limited seating on a TransVAC bus. Anyone interested is urged to sign up now as seating is limited. For reservations, call the Homestead at (815) 756-7904; or email Be sure to include your name, the number of people in your party and a phone number. Payment by check (can be mailed in advance to 921 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb) or cash will be collected prior to the bus tour’s departure on Nov. 6. 

JF Glidden Homestead is located at 921 West Lincoln Hwy. in DeKalb. For more information, visit

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