National Register of Historic Places in Alameda County
In the mid-1800's, Daniel Best of Iowa was an armed guard on a wagon train to Oregon. In Oregon he invented a machine to clean grain from fields and a steam-powered tractor. In 1886, he moved to San Leandro where bought the San Leandro Plow Works and renamed it the Daniel Best Agricultural Works.
In the late 1880's, a company run by Benjamin Holt and his brothers in San Francisco and Stockton began manufacturing agricultural equipment. The Holt company developed the first crawler-type tractor in 1904 and gave it the trademark "Caterpillar."
In 1926, Best and Holt merged to form Caterpillar Tractor Co. Four years later, the new corporate headquarters were moved from San Leandro to Peoria where the Holt brothers had been born.
Caterpillar continued manufacturing in San Leandro. As recently as 1979, the company employed two thousand people in San Leandro, but by 1985 Caterpillar had reduced its San Leandro workforce to fifty.
By the end of the 1985, ninety-nine years after Daniel Best founded his company in 1886, Caterpillar was no longer in San Leandro. The Caterpillar building at 800 Davis Street was demolished and replaced by an automobile retailer.