John Deere was a blacksmith and inventor who built his forge in Grand Detour, Illinois on the banks of the Rock River. In 1837, he perfected a steel plow that was resistant to clay soil adhering to the surface of the plow. Farmers lost hours having to stop and clean the blade of their plows, the Deere plow saved hours of labor. It was a hit, and many a pioneer stopped at Deere's Grand Detour shop to purchase a Deere plow while on their way west.
In 1848, Deere moved his operation 75 miles downriver to Moline.
He purchased an Italianate home of grocer William Dawson in 1875. Deere spent the next five years doubling the size and converting it to a flamboyant Second Empire home. The home included a commanding view of the Mississippi River and John Deere's factories.
Photo taken by J.R. Manning in June 2012