John Deere Historic Site, Illinois
8334 S. Clinton St., Grand Detour
Without the highly polished, contoured steel plow John Deere fashioned in a blacksmith shop just like the one replicated at this site, farmers might still be getting stalled in the rich, sticky soil of the Midwest. Today visitors watch a blacksmith demonstrate the skills that Deere employed when—from a discarded saw blade—he forged the plow that opened the prairie to agriculture.
Many of Deere’s actual tools are on display, unearthed in 1962 by an archaeological team that discovered the exact location of the inventor’s shop. You can get another authentic glimpse of pioneer life at the house Deere built for his family in 1836, complete with furnishings true to the era.
Open Wed.– Sun. May-Oct. Admission charged.