Friday, February 6, 2009

DeKalb - Barbed Wire Capitol


For years I've driven the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, (I-88), and only stopped in DeKalb, llinois to visit the bathroom at the tollway oasis which is a "must" when heading west. In spring of 2008, I headed to the home of Northern Illinois University to roam around and see if the city was more than a college town.

Little did I know that DeKalb was home to Joseph Glidden, the inventor of the most popular barbed wire fencing which was key to the development of the western half of the United States. The home and barn built in 1861 are featured in the photo here, and can be toured a few Sundays during the summer months.

A visit to the Ellwood House Museum and Victorian mansion give a sense of how much money was made by the inventors and manufacturers of this fencing material. The museum's second floor features samples of many designs which were patented and manufactured.

While in town, check out the Egyptian Theater and drive a section of the Lincoln Highway, America's first transcontinental highway.

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