One of the premier destinations in Moline, Ill. is the John Deere Pavilion. John Deere has been a major employer for more than 100 years. While the number of employees has declined over the years, the influence on the economy of the city has not. The iconic green and yellow equipment has been part of many families across the country for generations.
John Deere was a real person not just an invention of some advertising agency. He was born in Vermont and move out to the mid-west looking for new opportunities for his blacksmithing business. The soil in Illinois is rich but it also has unique characteristics that made it difficult to till. John developed a plow that addressed the main issue, soil sticking to the plow. He never patented his invention and shared it with other blacksmiths. He came to Moline in 1848 and his company Deere & Co. was born. The headquarters of John Deere is still located in Moline.
A visit to the pavilion is free. There is parking in the rear of the building which is also free. The city bus stops there if you want to skip using your car. The pavilion is open 7 days a week and is only closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Easter.
There is no right way to visit the Pavilion. You could start with the history walls but if you come with children, chances are they are going to want to go to the Discovery Zone or to climb onto some of the equipment. As a matter of fact, teens and adults will want to climb on the equipment as well and pretend to operate these behemoths. If you are looking for more of a challenge, the machine simulators are the place to head. This may just be easier for kids who are used to video games but adults will want to try to use the big dozer to move soil. It is a lot harder to do than it appears at first glance and you will have to try to pull yourself away so that you can continue to tour.
While part of the John Deere Pavilion is about the past, there is also a lot of information about the future. John Deere is committed to helping to make the world a better place through innovation. You can watch the population of the world as it grows second by second on their display. There are videos that you can watch to help you to understand the pieces of equipment and a favorite with visitors is the “Linked to the Land” video.
The newest equipment is computer operated. The pieces are synced to each other and can connect to move the grain from one to the other. It allows large farms to be able to get the work done. For farmers who can’t afford this large equipment, there are teams that travel around and bring the equipment to them without the cost of ownership.
Next door to the pavilion there is a gift store where the lover of all things John Deere can find the perfect items to remind them of their visit. There are tractors of all sizes from just a few inches to ones that can be ridden and of course tons of tee shirts.