John Deere historic site celebrates milestone

May 7, 2014

John Deere's first home in Illinois is celebrating an important milestone. The John Deere Historic Site near Dixon opened last weekend for its 50th year as a historic and educational attraction. 

 Site manager, Brian Holst, says John Deere moved from Vermont to the village of Grand Detour Illinois in 1836 at the urging of a previous employer. And that's where he made his first self-scouring steel plow, the invention that ultimately led to the formation of the company named for him, with operations around the world, and yearly sales now in the billions of dollars.

Holst says visitors can stand where he stood to make that plow. 

  The historic site also includes the Deere home and a replica shop where blacksmiths demonstrate the craft. 

Holst says the John Deere Historic Site hosts about 10,000 visitors a year, from the US and many foreign countries. It also hosts special events, starting on May 17th with a gardening symposium, and ending with an art festival in the fall.