News Releases   July 12, 2016

John Deere Historic Site Hosts Hammer In 2016 on August 6-7

Take a step back in time and experience the trade and art of blacksmithing

Grand Detour, Illinois (July 12, 2016) – The company John Deere founded has a presence around the world, but it all started in Grand Detour, Illinois, where Deere forged the first commercially successful self-polishing steel plow back in 1837. To celebrate the blacksmith's history and trade, the John Deere Historic Site is hosting Hammer In 2016 on August 6-7. Dozens of blacksmiths from the Midwest will fill the grounds of the John Deere Historic Site to provide demonstrations, sell their work, and introduce the public to one of the oldest trades in the world.

In addition to blacksmithing, other trades will be exhibiting their skills and selling their wares including basket weavers, broom makers, trappers, wheelwrights, woodwrights and more.

From 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, visitors will see how blacksmiths and other tradesmen mold and craft their wares into works of art and household goods. Many of the products for sale during the event will be made on location.

This year's event is themed "Come to the other side of the anvil" because attendees will have an opportunity to get hands-on experience as a blacksmith. This is a unique opportunity for all attendees ages 12 and older to actually try hammering and forging to make their own piece of iron work. Members of the Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association (UMBA) will provide training tents and will work with guests to let them experience the working side of the anvil.

On Saturday, at noon, guests will be treated to the sound of dozens of blacksmiths hammering in unison during an official "Anvil Ring." A food vendor will be on site and a charity auction will also take place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 6. Proceeds from the auction will be divided between the Upper Midwest Blacksmith and Illinois Valley Blacksmith Associations, both event sponsors, for their scholarship programs.

"We are very excited to bring another Hammer In event to Grand Detour because it provides an unique opportunity to learn about the historical significance of blacksmithing and to see how the trade lives on as demonstrated by dozens of skilled professionals still practicing the trade today," said Kristen Veto, Manager of the John Deere Historic Site.

The John Deere Historic Site held its first Hammer In event in 2004, with 75 blacksmiths, attracting thousands from around the country. Hammer In events have been hosted here every other year since in an effort to celebrate the trade as well as the history and legacy of the company's founder.

Admission is $5.00 for 12 years and older, children under 12 are free. For more information, please contact the John Deere Historic Site at 815-652-4551. The Site is located five miles north of Dixon on Hwy 2 (Between Dixon and Oregon).

About the John Deere Historic Site

The John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour is the original Illinois homestead of John Deere and is the location where he built his first commercially successful "self-polishing" steel plow. The Historic Site was designated as a Registered National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, and a Historic Landmark of Agricultural Engineering by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. The home Deere built still stands and is now accompanied by a replicated blacksmith shop, an exhibit of Deere's original tools unearthed during an archeological dig, and a visitor center and gift shop. In the atmosphere of a friendly 19th century village, informed tour guides provide an entertaining and educational perspective of life on the prairie. The John Deere Historic Site is open to the public May through October and is funded and managed by the John Deere Foundation. For more information, please call 815-652-4551 or visit

Media Contact:
Wendy Artman, OneTouchPointCommunications


*High resolution photos of the John Deere Historic Site are available upon request.