While the Caterpillar Visitors Center recently opened on October 20, 2012, Caterpillar has a long history of hosting visitors to the Peoria area, dating back as far as 1930.
In late 1929, Caterpillar finished construction on Building HH. It is believed that the building got its name from the products it was to assemble - Holt Harvesters (or Holt Caterpillar Combined Harvesters). With 25 acres of space under its roof, Building HH dwarfed the older buildings around the East Peoria plant and had more than double the capacity of all of the older buildings combined with room for 3,000 additional employees.
The whole street-front portion of this building featured the new Caterpillar Showroom. Recognized at the time as the largest showroom of its kind anywhere in the world, it featured at least one sample of every machine Caterpillar built at any given time as well as any attachments produced for those machines.
For several decades, thousands of people visited the showroom every year, including dealers, customers, interested passers-by as well as celebrities, royalty and athletes. In 1938 alone, the showroom had 14,566 visitors.
To honor the company's long-standing tradition of hosting visitors, the Caterpillar Visitors Center recently opened a display with souvenirs visitors received from the Caterpillar Showroom, including postcards, matchbooks, visitor badges and photo albums.