Last May I spoke to the Eastern Iowa Tourism Association and had a chance to see a few things around the Quad Cities. Just before leaving, Caelan and I crossed the Mississippi River to Moline, Illinois, to visit a Midwest icon: John Deere.
Nothing Runs Like a Deere
Where we live we see John Deere equipment daily- the Des Moines plant is just blocks away from our house. Funnily enough, the Des Moines plant builds cotton pickers.
Since it has been years since I have driven a tractor- growing up on a farm we learned that skill young- I thought it would be fun to explore them from inception to the space-shuttle-like machines they are today.
The John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois
The John Deere Pavilion is very easy to find as it sits overlooking the Mississippi River. The building itself reminded me of my grandfather’s huge machine barn- which it essentially is- but much nicer, with walls of windows and no heavy oil smells.
As you enter you get a glimpse of John Deere’s past; beautifully restored tractors with steel wheels appear to have rolled off the assembly line only hours ago.
But it’s the new machinery that is jaw dropping in its technology. Like stepping into a cockpit, it was a far cry from the first tractor I drove. Buttons and switches controlled everything from GPS units to self-drive features. I was honestly amazed to still see a steering wheel amidst all this advancement.
The east wall of the building features a John Deere timeline, beginning in 1836 when John Deere, a blacksmith, created the first self-scouring steel plow up to today, when tractors are capable of driving themselves. Large photos line the wall above, a pictorial review of how far farm technology has come.
You’ll also find a children’s area with toys, activities and photo opportunities, as well as John Deere employees available to answer any questions you might have.
John Deere Store
Adjacent to the John Deere Pavilion is the John Deere Store. Here you’ll find more John Deere branded items than anywhere else in the world. Clothing, books, collectibles, keepsakes and, of course, toy tractors of all shapes and sizes.
The John Deere Pavilion is open daily and is free to visit. If you find yourself in the Quad Cities be sure to stop in.