It started with a single steel plow to help cut through the thick Midwestern soil. Today, John Deere leads the world in the production of farm machinery. The John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois, provides visitors an opportunity to check out the equipment firsthand.
My dad – a long time Deere fanatic – would flip if he were around today to see the advances John Deere has made to his beloved tractor and other equipment. How about driverless tractors and combines? They exist. Farmers can program the vehicles through GPS. Lisa and I each rode in a GPS-controlled combine a couple of years ago. The farmer told me at that time that he could sit in his pickup and watch the combine do its job.
I love seeing John Deere products. It’s actually an offshoot of my dad’s stroke. He suffered short-term memory loss. But, oh, could he remember the good old days. He loved talking about farming, so we did that a lot over his last years. So, as a way of maintaining that connection, I started following John Deere more than in the past. I visited the pavilion for the first time in 2006 and took photos to share with him.
Since the John Deere Company purchased the Waterloo (Iowa) Engine Company in the early 1900s, agriculture has seen tremendous advancements. John Deere has been at the forefront for many of them.
The John Deere Pavilion is a showcase of the company’s products and history. The company doesn’t manufacture equipment at the site, located a few blocks from the Mississippi River as part of the Quad Cities. The pavilion allows hands-on viewing of the farm machinery, as well as construction and logging equipment.
John Deere products are famous for the green and gold paint on the vehicles and accessories. So, when I first saw the yellow-painted vehicles I paused. They belong to the construction piece of the company. The exhibit features a bulldozer, loader and an excavator.
I swear I saw a “Transformer” at the John Deere Pavilion. It turned out to be a Deere “walker.” It was actually a logging vehicle prototype John Deere’s Finland division designed in the mid-1990s. It featured four legs that allowed the vehicle to maneuver on mountainous terrain. John Deere created only two prototypes, because the vehicle was too expensive to produce. I believe the second one remains in Finland.
However, the company produces logging equipment, such as a four-wheeled buncher located the pavilion.
I believe people still come to the pavilion and other John Deere locations for the tractors. Visitors can see the older models, including the D series. Newer models of tractors and combines are also on site.
It’s easy to understand why John Deere is a world leader in farm, construction and logging equipment. The John Deere Pavilion should be on any visitor’s list of things to see in the Quad Cities. Plus, it’s free. A gift shop is located next door.