Glidden is on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad just north of Interstate Highway 10 and three miles west of Columbus in north central Colorado County. It was established by the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway on 159½ acres of land bought from T. J. Oaks as a site for new shops, switching yards, and a roundhouse to handle major east-west traffic and traffic from the La Grange Tap Railroad. The first plat was filed on May 27, 1885, after construction of the switching yards was complete. By 1887 the town had a new hotel, a Farmers' Alliance with over thirty members, a school, several churches, and enough businesses to provide for a growing population. The post office was established in 1888. By 1891 Glidden had a population of more than 200 and had become the major railroad-maintenance facility between Houston and El Paso. In 1896 the town had three saloons, a hotel, a general store, and a dry-goods emporium. During the Spanish-American War and the two world wars, the railroad shops were a link in transcontinental rail service, and the community prospered accordingly. The advent of diesel and electric engines and the concurrent loss of the older steam engines made most of the shops and equipment in Glidden obsolete, and they were slowly phased out to make way for more switching yards during the late 1940s and 1950s. Glidden had an estimated population of 400 in 1925; by 1949 the estimate had fallen to 150, and only five businesses remained. Glidden was still an active community in the 1980s, with four businesses and, with the addition of two small subdivisions, a population of about 200. The population was 255 in 1990 and again in 2000.