DeKalb Daily Chronicle

Joseph Glidden, from Barbed Wire fame, constructed this building in 1889 as the home for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle newspaper

It is the oldest 3-story building in downtown DeKalb at one time also housed the DeKalb Public Library and the first farm bureau in the United States. It is located on Main Street (now Lincoln Highway)  E. J. Raymond and Frank Greenway purchased the DeKalb Daily Chronicle company on January 15, 1909. The newspaper’s current headquarters is at 1586 Barber Green Road DeKalb. (Taming The Wild Prairie)

 The Mural on the side of the Building is titled:”Its Merits Recommend It…” The phrase is taken from an old barbed wire fence advertisement.  It’s a town with industrious people and a history of industry. The mural project was coordinated by Olivia Gude in 1999 and the following are excerpts  from her account of the project.  Read the entire article by following the link above.

People here invented and manufactured. Two innovations that changed the history of the world–barbed wired and hybridized corn–are intimately associated with the history and growth of DeKalb.

The final mural is a mix of images and text painted on an unprimed brick wall. It was designed in this way to visually maintain the architectural solidity of the building and to create formal interactions of the text and imagery with the pattern and colors of the bricks and mortar. The mural’s themes center on loss and restoration of community through community stories and community buildings. Over fifty people worked on the collaborative design and painting of the project.

 The main feature of the mural is the portrayal of Anne Glidden. Annie Glidden, a niece of barbwire inventor Joseph Glidden, figures large in the imagination of those who know the history of DeKalb. It’s hard to say exactly why. She was evidently quite a character. Some of the elders still remember her. Many remember stories about her. She was an independent woman, an award-winning farmer, and a lifelong learner. In the mural, stories about her are interwoven with the roots of the corn.

We wanted to paint Annie as an active, confident woman in her sixties. I created her portrait from photographs of her as a young woman and as a woman in her eighties. I drew from the bodies, ears, necks, eyes, and hands of the women on the mural committee. She is quite literally an amalgam of community qualities. For me Annie represents a community rooted in character qualities such as independence, entrepreneurship, and community-mindedness.

Leaning on her hoe, gazing out at the town, Annie stands next to a towering 48- foot tall cornstalk.


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