Before the start of the 20th century, rides were not the main attraction at local fairs and travelling shows. It was felt that a fair's purpose was to educate and provide a location for socializing, not to entertain. After 1900, when government agencies and agricultural schools took over the role of rural educator, carnivals became more entertainment oriented. Shows, games of chance and rides such as this one, which runs on a circular, undulating track, enjoyed increasing popularity.
The Caterpillar was built by the Spillman Engineering Corporation of North Tonawanda, New York, in 1928, and can give a 3½-minute ride to more than 1,200 people in one hour. Jim Conklin, of Conklin and Garrett Ltd., donated the ride to Heritage Park in 1984.