Focus on Our Communities Then and Now

"Fifty Years on Tracks" is a marvelous time-worn book published in 1954 by the Caterpillar Tractor Company. It chronicles the story of how the C. L. Best Tractor Co. and the Holt Manufacturing Company merged to become the Caterpillar Tractor Co. It’s a story many of us know well.  But likely not many know of the Caterpillar customers and employees who come to life on the book’s yellowed pages. Written as a memento marking Caterpillar’s first 50 years, the words tell a story of innovation, hard work, determination – and even connectedness that somehow still tugs at the heart some 63 years later. This is the third in a series of articles retelling the charming stories found therein.

August 10, 2017

History sometimes proves that fundamentals don’t really change. That’s the case with Caterpillar’s commitment to the communities in which we live and work. "Fifty Years on Tracks" describes the sense of commitment Caterpillar had to our local communities even back in the day. The book documents how the company had recently donated land and money to build a community park, paid for 95% of the cost of a new fire house, and encouraged employees to be active in their communities.

The book states:

“Contributions of time, goods and cash to organizations concerned with human health and welfare, character building and education are one indication of the Company’s readiness to lift on its corner of the civic load. Another example is the emphasis placed on civic affairs. Caterpillar urges employees to take part in beneficial community activities whether they be committee memberships, governmental affairs or church and club affiliations. Still another example is the Company’s plant escort service . . . in Peoria alone, trained escorts guide about 12,000 customers and community friends annually through the various factories.

In these and other good neighbor roles, according to President Eberhard, Caterpillar is simply discharging a responsibility: “The Company is a citizen here – a corporate citizen. It enjoys many of the rights of citizenship . . . it must therefore shoulder a share of the responsibilities.”

Today, Caterpillar still carries the proud tradition of helping transform lives in the communities where we live and work around the world. Together with our partners, we champion programs that support education, environment and basic human needs. Visit the Caterpillar Foundation for more information.

The Best Holt and Best Story You've Never Heard

Written as a memento marking Caterpillar’s first 50 years, the words tell a story of innovation, hard work, determination – and even connectedness that somehow still tugs at the heart some 63 years later.

Learn More

A Nostalgic Look at Caterpillar People Circa 1954.

A charming narrative highlights Jack Trowbridge, a machinist who began working at the San Leandro, California plant in 1942.

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