Grand Detour, Illinois, is where it all began in 1837. It's where John Deere set up his small blacksmith shop and worked long days over an anvil to create the first commercially successful steel plow. Go back to the beginning at the John Deere Historic Site and relive those simpler days. See a faithful replica of the original blacksmith shop, walk the grounds and tour the original Deere family home.
Where the man became a legend. In 1963, an archeological team uncovered the exact location where John Deere forged the first self-scouring steel plow that helped open the emerging American west to settlement.
Look over the preserved site, see the artifacts excavated, and listen as John Deere describes how he built a thriving manufacturing business.
Built in 1836, the original John Deere home offers you an intimate glimpse of pioneer life. See how the Deere family raised eight children, and housed live-in apprentices, in their six room home. Explore the rooms as the Deere family would have known them, furnished with period household items that show how pioneers cooked, cleaned, bathed, and spent their few leisure hours.
Take your students to the John Deere Historic Site to experience life on the prairie and see how the blacksmith, John Deere, created major innovations in farming. Tour the original homestead where John Deere invented the first self-scouring steel plow, interact with a working blacksmith in a replica of John Deere's shop, view artifacts unearthed from a 1963 archeological dig and explore the 1837 home built by John Deere.
Tour guides lead all school group tours. Please make reservations at least two weeks in advance. The entire tour takes approximately 1.5 hours, can be scheduled year round and is FREE for students and bus drivers.
Purchase items forged in our blacksmith shop as souvenirs of your visit. If you're looking for something specific, custom ironwork can be done on request. A selection of clothing, hats and other John Deere Historic Site merchandise is also available in our shop. The gift shop is open during the site's normal hours of operation.
8334 S. Clinton St., Grand Detour
Dixon, IL 61021
Hours of Operation
Open May - October
Wednesday - Sunday 9 a.m.-5p.m.
Monday and Tuesday
Special group tours can be arranged during the winter months.
Admission is free.