Okay, so it happened in 2014 and I am just now finding out about it. When taking a side trip from this year’s Gathering of the Green to the Historic Site, I wondered aground the grounds taking in the beauty of the sight and found something new. The John Deere historic site Grand Detour celebrated fifty years of being a historic site with the placement of a replica of the John Deere self-scouring plow twice the size of the original.
At Grand Detour the John Deere home where Deere and his family lived when he developed the steel plow is open for visitors to tour. While I have been through the house on numerous occasions it is always a great place to see and visit. The house began as only two rooms and they added on as the family expanded.
Deere moved to Grand Detour from Virginia. It was in 1837 when working as a blacksmith that John Deere found a broken-steel sawmill blade, and got a big idea. The Deere website states, “He knew that days in the field were difficult for farmers near his home in Grand Detour, Illinois, because they had to interrupt their work to clean the sticky prairie soil off of their cast-iron plows. He also knew that the soil would slide easily off of a highly polished steel moldboard. Steel was scarce in the area, so Deere fashioned a moldboard out of the second-hand blade.”
The rest of the story is known to all, but it all started with a plow that historian Don McKinley said, “Turned the west upside down.”
For more information, log onto https://www.deere.com/en_US/corporate/our_company/fans_visitors/tours_attractions/historicalsite.page.