In 1958, Caterpillar Tractor Co. opened a new parts department facility in Morton, Ill. as part of its expansion plan. Operations from the East Peoria, Ill., Parts Department were transferred to the new Morton facility.
In the summer of 1956, ground was broken on the 100 acre site which, at that time, was immediately north of Morton's city limits. The steel started to rise on March 11, 1957, and the transfer of inventory from East Peoria to Morton began in December 1957. One thousand employees were originally employed at the facility when it opened in 1958 and many came from the East Peoria Parts Department.
In honor of Morton's 55th anniversary, a group of Caterpillar retirees who host facility tours of Morton provided a tour to Corporate Archivist Lee Fosburgh and recollected the multiple advancements of the facility throughout the years.
"We've had a constant history of expansion and improvement - since the very beginning," noted the team throughout the tour. The Caterpillar retirees who hosted the tour included: Nick Nicholson, who retired after 27 years of service with 25 being at Morton; Matt Scheffler, who retired after 31 years of service in product support; Dave Rankin, who retired after 40 years of service at Morton; Vernon Cox, who retired after 37 years of service with 17 being at Morton; and Ed Eaton, who retired after 33 years of service with 27 being at Morton.
"We have great documentation of our history within the collection of the Corporate Archives," Fosburgh said. "However, it's the stories of our retirees that really make our history come to life - Nick, Matt, Dave, Vernon and Ed do a remarkable job showcasing the heritage of Morton, as well as the company, throughout their tours."
Today, Morton is the central point for customer parts support with primary responsibility for receiving and shipping after-market parts to worldwide parts facilities and Cat® dealers.