Caterpillar Retirees’ Careers Live on at the Caterpillar Visitors Center

On August 9, representatives from the Caterpillar Visitors Center who coordinate displays in the Heritage Gallery presented to the Caterpillar Retirees Club. The representatives discussed how they hope to meet with retirees on a regular basis and partner with them to promote, advocate and preserve the heritage and legacy of the company.

One of the items they discussed is treasures the Caterpillar Visitors Center is seeking for display and how they hope to partner with retirees in locating these items. Some of the items include original Holt and Best items, vintage toys and scale models (pre-1970), vintage dealer service overalls, Caterpillar Diesels/Peoria Cats Basketball memorabilia (and other sports team memorabilia), original service pins (40 years +), vintage watch fobs, a Caterpillar pedal tractor and Caterpillar bookends. More importantly, the representatives were seeking information and knowledge from retirees on the historical significance of these items.

"It's important to get the stories captured behind these items so we know their meaning and history," said Dean Costello, who retired from Caterpillar after 36 years of service and is currently a gallery host at the Caterpillar Visitors Center. "While we understand the value of these items because we worked at Caterpillar during our 30 and 40 year-long careers, it's difficult to translate that meaning in the present but those at Caterpillar who track the history of the company help us to do so."

One of the rarest artifacts at the Retirees Club meeting came from Harold Crabtree, who donated an original Holt identification card from 1917 and an original Holt Caterpillar calendar from 1929. Both items belonged to Harold's father, Martin John Crabtree, and the identification card will be displayed at the Caterpillar Visitors Center this fall.

"When I met with Harold a few weeks ago, he mirrored Dean Costello's sentiment that the meaning behind these artifacts is difficult to translate to today and they wouldn't necessarily have the same historical (and emotional) significance to his children as they do to him," said Lee Fosburgh, who coordinates displays in the Heritage Gallery at the Caterpillar Visitors Center. "He wanted to donate the items where other people could see them and is excited his items will be seen by Caterpillar employees, retirees, dealers, customers and other visitors from around the world at the Caterpillar Visitors Center."

"I hope all of my fellow retirees consider donating their items to the Caterpillar Visitors Center so our history can be captured and our careers at Caterpillar can continue to live on," added Costello.

To contact the Caterpillar Visitors Center, please call 309-675-0606 or email To learn more about the Caterpillar Visitors Center, go to