A blacksmith's hands forge a hot piece of iron

John Deere Historic Site


A man and woman examine a replica of John Deere's original plow

The Beginning

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. 

Free admission for children 11 and younger. Only $5 for everyone else.


Two children look at an exhibit

Archeological Site

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.

A woman and two girls look at an early table setting in the John Deere family home

John Deere's Family Home

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.


A blacksmith shows a feather he created from forging iron

School Group Tours

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 developed the first successful 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 1836 home built by John Deere.

Tour guides lead all school group tours. The entire tour takes approximately 1.5 hours, and can be scheduled year round.

Schedule a Tour


A woman holds up a John Deere Historic Site t-shirt

Gift Shop

Find items forged in our blacksmith shop as mementos of your visit. If you're looking for something specific, custom ironwork can be done on request. There's also a selection of clothing, hats, and other John Deere Historic Site merchandise. After you're done shopping, relax on our covered porch and take in the beauty that is Grand Detour.