News Releases   April 13, 2016

John Deere Historic Site Opens Doors for the Season on May 1, 2016

Site to offer monthly Family Free Days and full line up of special events

GRAND DETOUR, Illinois (April 13, 2016) – On Sunday, May 1, 2016, the John Deere Historic Site will open its gates to the public for its 52nd season. Located in Grand Detour, the site is the original Illinois homestead of John Deere and is the location where he built his first "self-scouring" steel plow.

New this year, the John Deere Historic Site will offer Family Free Days, providing FREE admission to all guests on the second Saturday of each month, May – October. Opening Day, May 1, will also be free and will include special activities for kids including making rag dolls and pioneer-era kid's games.

"When you step foot on the grounds of the John Deere Historic Site, it feels like taking a step back in time," said Kristen Veto, manager of the John Deere Historic Site. "You hear the floorboards creak as you walk inside John Deere's home and feel the heat of fired steel inside a working blacksmith shop. Whether you're a school group, a John Deere fan, or a history buff, it's an experience you can't miss. We hope that by offering our Family Free Days, more residents from the surrounding region can experience all we have to offer."

John Deere Historic Site Exhibits
Deere Family Home: The original home John Deere built in 1836 gives an intimate glimpse of pioneer life. Visitors see how the Deere family raised eight children, not to mention live-in apprentices, in their six-room home. See 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.

Archeological Site: In 1963, an archeological team uncovered the exact location where John Deere forged his first self-scouring steel plow. While looking over the preserved site and seeing firsthand the artifacts excavated, a video tells the story of how John Deere built a thriving manufacturing business.

Blacksmith Shop: A highlight of any visit to the site includes seeing a recreation of Deere's original blacksmith shop. Entering is like a time warp to early pioneer days as guests see the shop as it would have looked over a century ago. Generally, five to seven times a day, resident blacksmiths demonstrate what it takes to be a skilled iron worker. Works created by the resident blacksmiths are sold in the site's Gift Shop along with a variety of John Deere licensed products.

Gift Shop: This one-of-a-kind gift shop sells hand-forged items made in the blacksmith shop. A selection of John Deere licensed items and other John Deere Historic Site merchandise is available.

2016 John Deere Historic Site Special Events
Plan your trip to the John Deere Historic site around one of the many special events May through October.

Family Free Days
Every Second Saturday May - October
FREE admission all day
Memorial Day and Labor Day are also FREE admission all day

June Jam - Sunday, June 26th
12:00pm - 5:00pm
Admission for the Day: $5 or FREE with non-perishable donation for the local food pantry

Hammer In - Saturday, August 6th
9:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday, August 7th 9:00am - 4:00pm
Admission for the Day: $5 or FREE with non-perishable donation for the local food pantry

Grand Detour Art Festival
Sunday, September 11th 9:00am - 4:00pm
Admission for the Day: $3 or FREE with non-perishable donation for the local food pantry

The John Deere Pavilion offers free admission, is open to the public year-round, and welcomes group tours. The John Deere Store, located adjacent to the Pavilion, stocks a large and unique selection of the latest officially-licensed John Deere products including clothing, toys, books, and collectibles. The Pavilion will be closed for Easter on Sunday, March 27. For more information about the John Deere Pavilion, Store, and other John Deere Attractions, visit us online at www.JohnDeereAttractions.com.