Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Event: Photo tour of Haish sites

Portrait of Jacob Haish | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Take a tour of Jacob Haish sites and landmarks and never leave your seat. 

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 8 at the Glidden Homestead, Jessi Haish LaRue will give a virtual tour on inventor, manufacturer, and DeKalb benefactor Jacob Haish. She will show some landmarks in DeKalb and beyond that tell Haish’s life story and show his philanthropy. 


LaRue, a Haish family descendant, is a writer who blogs regularly about Jacob Haish at JacobHaishStory.com. The blog shares photos, interviews and news articles which relate to Haish's life. LaRue has been documenting her 4th great uncle's story since early 2016 in an attempt to spread the story of the "underdog of barbed wire." 


“Jessi has spent great effort and care finding, visiting, and documenting Haish sites,” says Rob Glover, executive director of Glidden Homestead. “Her ‘virtual tour’ will help you see these sites more completely and leave you wanting to see them in person.” 


Haish is renowned for his “S barb” patented in 1875. Jacob Haish was born March 9, 1827, in Germany and came to America in 1835 when he was nine years old. In his youth, he learned the carpentry trade from his father and “possessed natural mechanical ingenuity and displayed ready aptitude in the use of tools.” At 19, he moved to Illinois and then to DeKalb in 1853 where he entered the lumber business. He built many of the city’s most notable buildings, past and present, including the Glidden Homestead.
His first barbed wire patent is dated January 20, 1874. His “S barb” was patented August 31, 1875. He followed these with many later designs for wire and other innovative devices. 


Also on Sunday, noon-4, you can tour the home where Joseph Glidden and his family lived when he created his most famous invention, see a working onsite blacksmith shop, and walk where Glidden walked. Joseph Glidden developed barbed wire in DeKalb in 1873 and went on to patent numerous other inventions. Glidden’s brick barn, where an archaeological excavation has taking place, can be considered the monument for the invention of barbed wire, a symbol of innovation in the Midwest, the workshop of an iconic inventor. Programs at Glidden Homestead are made possible in part by the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.


A full season of programs highlighting “Center of It All” continues at the Glidden Homestead in 2019. A program listing can be found at http://www.gliddenhomestead .org/events.html. The Glidden Homestead, located at 921 W Lincoln Hwy, is open Tuesdays 10-2 or by special arrangement. Admission is $4 per adult and free for children younger than 14. For more information, visit www.gliddenhomestead.org or e-mail info@gliddenhomestead.org or call (815) 756-7904.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Haish Manual Training School - Denver

"Haish Manuel Training School - University of Denver." I purchased this photograph from eBay. The largest sign reads "HAISH MANUAL TRAINING SCHOOL." The sign above the door reads "UNIVERSITY OF DENVER." Another sign reads "UNIVERSITY BUSINESS COLLEGE." | Courtesy of Jessi Haish LaRue

The Haish Manual Training School was built in Denver, Colorado, after a monetary donation from Jacob Haish.

According to this article, "the main building for the manual school was built at a cost of $25,000, the gift of Mr. Jacob Haish of De Kalb, Illinois ... Mr. Haish attended the commencement at Denver University last spring and was so well pleased with the school that he told Bishop Warren that he would give the university $15,000 for the medical department if that would be sufficient to build upon the vacant ground adjoining the manual training school ... It is built of brick and is three stories high with a basement. This makes a total gift of $40,000 by Mr. Haish to the university."

I reached out to the Special Collections and Archives department of the University of Denver to learn more, and they generously provided the below information and photographs of the building:

The school, which was located at the intersection of 14th Street and Arapahoe Street in downtown Denver, was only open from 1885-1892, and it was a high school for the first couple of years, they said. The building itself was later demolished in 1963.

As I've researched, there have been varying dates and purposes for the building. According to the Archives department's website, the school was located at 1025 14th Street in Denver, and the cornerstone was laid on July 13, 1887. 

"Building served multiple functions for the University of Denver, including residence of the Haish Manual Training School, University Business College, Dental College Infirmary, and Denver College of Pharmacy," according to the website.

The below photos, provided by the researchers at the University of Denver, are believed to be from a time after it was the "Haish Manual Training School." 
Students at the Haish Manual Training School building sit in windows and wave at the photographer. | Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, University of Denver
Haish Manual Training School building in Denver. | Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, University of Denver
Another great image of this building can be seen by clicking here.

But why Denver? Local historian Steve Bigolin believes Haish either sold a lot of his wire in Colorado, or that he wanted to expand his business prosperity to the West.

The Archives department also provided "a class listing likely from the late 1880s or early 1890s." The PDF can be viewed below.


Thank you so much to the University of Denver's Special Collections and Archives group for providing us with this wonderful information and imagery.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Haish in the DRM newsletter

Jacob Haish (and my recent visit to the Devil's Rope Museum with my father) are mentioned in the latest edition of the museum's newsletter. Below are a few pages from the newsletter:

Click the images to enlarge.





For more information on the Devil's Rope Museum, or to become a member and receive this newsletter, click here. Thanks again to the DRM for providing us a wonderful visit back in May.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Haish picnic and baseball game

Sycamore True Republican, July 8, 1916
The July 8, 1916, edition of the Sycamore True Republican newspaper printed this small article about a company picnic and baseball game that Jacob Haish organized for his employees. The article states:

"Some 200 people attended a picnic given near Brush Point on Sunday by Jacob Haish to his employees and their families. Several autobuses and many automobiles brought the people to the grounds. There were the usual sports and a baseball game between the East and West side shops. The East side team won by a score of 6 to 10. The venerable Mr. Haish was among the picnickers."

Haish would have been 90 years old at the time of this picnic!

Article accessed here.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Ballad of Ellwood House

Here's another video from the cassette tape I purchased in Texas last month. This song is "The Ballad of Ellwood House." Words and music by Francis Stroup, and performed by Dave Parker with Paul Nelson.

If you've ever visited the Ellwood House Museum, you need to hear this song, posted below.


To hear "The Barbed Wire National Anthem," click here.

The Barbed Wire National Anthem

While in Texas at the Devil's Rope Museum this year for their annual swap meet and reunion, I purchased a cassette tape that features songs and stories about barbed wire. I'll be sharing the videos on YouTube/this blog. 

This is a fun one: "The Barbed Wire National Anthem," written and performed by Charlie Dalton.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Jacob Haish at the DeKalb County History Center

DeKalb County History Center in Sycamore, IL | Photo by Jessi LaRue
I visited the DeKalb County History Center to view the Crossroads: Change in Rural America exhibit. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jacob Haish represented within the museum, as well.

The barbed wire display included wire samples, a Haish barbed wire cane, and images and background information on Haish, Isaac Ellwood and Joseph Glidden.

Barbed wire display at DCHC | Photo by Jessi LaRue 
Barbed wire display at DCHC | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Displays tell the story of the three men seeing the Henry Rose exhibit in DeKalb, and pondering how to improve Rose's creation of "a thin wooden rail with nails driven into fence wire:" 

"One source relates that Glidden, seeing the fence, said out loud, 'The barbs should be on the wire.' Over the next few months, all three worked to perfect the idea."

The display also details Haish's other contributions to the agricultural world, including gas engines, fencing tools, and more.

Barbed wire display at DCHC | Photo by Jessi LaRue 
Barbed wire plaque at DCHC | Photo by Jessi LaRue
The exhibit also features other legendary local stories, such as the Sandwich Fair, Pumpkin Festival, the Egyptian Theatre, Kishwaukee College history, and much, much more.