Plan to Take the DeKalb County Barn Tour

Jonamac Orchard

America’s barns played a pivotal role in the development of our nation and DeKalb County. Their historical significance will be highlighted at eight locations Saturday, August 8, 2015, as part of the Second Annual DeKalb County Barn Tour co-sponsored by the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead (GH) and DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association (DAAHA).

The DeKalb County Barn Tour is a one-day driving tour from 9 am-4 pm. Participants drive to each location, in any order, to visit and learn about the history and uses of structures from guides stationed at each site. Tickets are $20 per vehicle (buses extra), and are available in advance or at any tour location on Aug. 8. Members of GH or DAAHA receive a 25% discount.

Participants receive a map and Guide Book containing hand-drawn sketches of each barn by renowned artist David Alan Badger, including each barn’s history, style and use. Badger will be signing Guide Books throughout the day Aug. 8, at the Glidden Homestead, 921 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb.

Barn Tour 2015 locations are: Bortolin Barn, Sycamore; Newman Barn, DeKalb (featuring barn restoration firm Trillium Dell Timberworks); Butlers’ Organic Farm I & Cottonwood Stables, Malta (with interactive display of antique/modern farm implements); Butlers’ Organic Farm II & Plapps’ Precious Pastures Dairy, Malta (with 4-H animals); McArtor/Jonamac Orchards, Malta; DAAHA, 111 S. Second St., Suite 204, DeKalb; and GH, 921 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb.

Barns are an important part of a farm’s landscape and their history is often overlooked, according to Marcia Wilson, Barn Tour co-chair, and Donna Langford, DAAHA curator.

“The rich diversity of architectural styles and use are directly linked to our agricultural heritage, which is disappearing as old barns fall into disrepair or are torn down. The DeKalb County Barn Tour addresses this oversight,” they said.

DAAHA and GH teamed up in 2014 to present the first Barn Tour which attracted more than 300 visitors. Representatives from both organizations believe their complementary missions related to agricultural heritage make them perfect partners to offer educational opportunities about DeKalb County’s farming legacy.

DAAHA is dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing with people of all ages the storied history of agriculture and its innovators within northern Illinois.

The Glidden Homestead is the site of one of the nation’s most historically-significant barns, where Joseph F. Glidden invented and first manufactured “The Winner” barbed wire. Glidden’s all-brick barn was built about 1870. Before the barn can be opened to the public on a regular basis, funding is needed to restore the interior and develop it into exhibit space. The barn’s exterior was saved from collapse when it was restored in 2002 with grants and the generosity of local donors.

Wilson said the event helps DAAHA and GH fulfill the mission of their organizations to focus on the heritage of agriculture. Promoting historic barns and the significant roles they have played in the growth of America and the region ties in well with the mission of both organizations.

Tickets may be purchased in advance. For more information, visit or; or e-mail or; or call (815) 756-7904 or (815) 756-8737. Large groups are welcome and should call (815) 756-7904 for details on pricing. Advance tickets also are available through “yapsody” at:

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