If you are a lover of tractors, you may know that the John Deere Company is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. You may also know that the Company's home offices are in Moline IL, and that there's a good-sized plant in Waterloo, IA. Perhaps you have not considered, however, that John Deere is also HERE…right here in Chickasaw County….and has been for quite a while.
Highlighting the story of John Deere's presence in the Chickasaw County area is what the current exhibit at the Carnegie Cultural Center in New Hampton is all about. On display through June 10, the exhibit, entitled "John Deere Here" explores three themes: the equipment, the dealerships and the people who made the equipment. A fine display of model tractors and equipment illustrates the development of product lines that can be found on numerous area farms…and considering the loyalty of some farmers to the brand, one might expect that the blood that runs through their veins is bright green. Another display features information about the local dealerships through years and a third display presents a visual representation of the many, many, many people who have commuted from the Chickasaw County area for employment at the Waterloo Tractor Works.
Within each of these themes there are multiple stories to be told. The Cultural Center will be hosting a "John Deere Reunion" on Sunday, June 3, with refreshments, door prizes, and an open microphone to encourage the telling and preserving of stories. Everyone is invited to attend.
The Carnegie Cultural Center is located at 7 North Water Avenue in New Hampton. Until June, when hours are extended, the Carnegie is open Thursdays, 12-6; Saturdays, 10-4; Sundays 1-4 or any time by appointment. Admission is free. For more information, contact the Cultural Center at (641) 394-2354.
Photo: Some models of vintage tractors on display include a Froelich, a Melvin Motor Plow and a Slovsky B-3.