John Deere Historic Site – Illinois

While we were in northern Illinois visiting Castle Rock State Park and White Pines Forest State Park, I saw a sign for the John Deere Historic Site. I wasn’t really sure what it was, but we had some free time so we drove the backroads of Illinois and stumbled upon the John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour, Illinois.


There was an employee sitting at the entrance when we arrived and I casually asked if dogs were allowed since it looked like you were able to wander the grounds of the historic site and they said “Well, not really, but if you can carry them in the buildings, we will allow it”. Well Ellie is small enough so I agreed to carry her, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect.


We were greeted by a friendly tour guide who led us into the first building. They first played a short movie that explained who John Deere was and what he was significant. I really learned a lot as I had never really given the name much thought and most people just know it for a brand of tractors. Meanwhile, Ellie sat on my lap while we enjoyed the movie.


John moved from Vermont in 1836 and opened a small blacksmith shop. His business started to boom when he built the a more efficient plow from a steel blade.


After the movie, the lights come back on  and the foundation of the blacksmith shop appears. Artifacts line the walls.

The tour continues to a working blacksmith shop where the blacksmith did a live demonstration and made a beautiful wall hook. Similar hooks and other items were available for purchase in the gift shop!



Ellie took a little rest during the demonstration. LOL!


The guide then led us to the family house on the property. It was very interesting to see how they lived.




I really enjoyed our visit to the John Deere Historic Site! It was very interesting to learn about a Midwest icon!

Categories: John Deere Historic SiteTags: , , ,


  1. Very interesting. My husband worked for John Deere Tractor for many years in Waterloo, Iowa. I’m sure I would have enjoyed what you looked at. I’m glad you are willing to veer off the path to see where it takes you. I’m usually in a hurry to get home and do not explore like you do. Maybe I should do more exploring.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Visiting the small sites interest me more than the large ones. Never knew that Deere had a historic sight. Thanks for the info as it looks like a good place to wander through while traveling through Illinois.

    Liked by 1 person

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