If you see a mower or a tractor out in a Vermont field, chances are it's a John Deere. And Rutland, Vermont is now claiming it's hand in helping that company come to be.
"It has been a little known fact, but one of those most significant things when you think about it -- John Deere. And he's only born one place in the world, and guess where it is -- it's Rutland, Vermont," said Tom Donahue with the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce.
And now they have the plaque to prove it. An official historic site marker from the state was recently installed in Main Street Park, which is roughly across the street from where Deere was born above his father's tailor shop. "We're so proud of that fact, because he's so known for innovation and hard work and great Yankee ingenuity and work ethic -- you know, why not remind people where he got his start," Donahue said.
Deere lived in Rutland for just one year after his birth -- from 1804 to 1805. But it's now a claim to fame for the city. "It's been one of those things that's been sort of under the radar and it was a long time coming and we really needed to do a more significant recognition of his birthplace," Donahue said.
The John Deere company today is headquartered in Moline, IIlinois and is an industry leader in equipment for agriculture, construction and forestry industries as well as residential lawn care.
In 1805, Deere's father moved the family to Middlebury, where at age 17 Deere apprenticed as a blacksmith. In 1837 he moved his young family to Illinois. Just one year later, he invented his first plow, and the rest is history. And history, is a hopeful venture for the chamber of commerce. "Having Rutland become a destination for those folks who are John Deere fanatics around the country, maybe even around the world, that might want to visit his birthplace," Donahue said.
A worldwide company so many depend on in the founder's home state of Vermont.
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