Downers Grove, Illinois

Downers Grove, Illinois
Downers Grove
Orange Lyman Home, constructed in 1839; purported to be a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Country United States
State Illinois
County DuPage
Townships Downers Grove, Lisle
Elevation 705 ft (215 m)
Coordinates 41°47′41″N 88°01′01″W / 41.79472°N 88.01694°W / 41.79472; -88.01694
Highest point
 - elevation 741 ft (226 m)
 - coordinates 41°48′32″N 88°00′40″W / 41.80889°N 88.01111°W / 41.80889; -88.01111
Area 14.3 sq mi (37 km2)
 - land 14.2 sq mi (37 km2)
Population 49,250 (2008 est.)
Density 3,420.2 / sq mi (1,321 / km2)
Founded 1873
Government Council-manager
Mayor Martin Tully
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 60515, 60516, 60517
Area codes 630 and 331
Location of Downers Grove within Illinois
Location of Downers Grove within Illinois

Downers Grove is a village in Downers Grove and Lisle Townships, DuPage County, Illinois, United States. The population was 48,724 at the 2000 census,[2] with an official estimated population of 49,250 in 2008.[3]



Downers Grove was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, a religious evangelist from New York. Its other early settlers included the Blodgett, Curtiss, and Carpenter families. The original settlers were mostly migrants from the Northeastern United States and Northern Europe. The first schoolhouse was built in 1844.

During the American Civil War, 119 soldiers from Downers Grove served in the Union Army; at least one of these was interred in the cemetery downtown. There was an abolitionist presence in the village, and some of the older homes are thought to have been stops on the Underground Railroad[citation needed]. However, there is no evidence to substantiate this claim.

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was extended from Aurora to Chicago through Downers Grove in 1862, boosting its population. The town was incorporated in March 1873. Its somewhat unusual spelling ("Apostrophe-free since 1873") remains a minor historical mystery.

In April 1947 the wreck of a Burlington Railroad Twin Cities Zephyr passenger train killed three people, including the engineer. The streamliner struck a large tractor which had fallen from a freight train and two passenger cars crashed through a wall of the Main Street Station.

The construction of two major toll roads along the village's northern and western boundaries, I-355 in 1989 and what is now referred to as I-88 in 1958, facilitated its access to the rest of Chicago metropolitan area. Downers Grove has developed into a bustling Chicago suburb with many diverse businesses, including the headquarters for Rossi Furniture, FTD, Sara Lee, Arrow Gear[4] Magnetrol,[5] Dover, TMK IPSCO and Luxury tour operator, Abercrombie & Kent.


Top employers

According to the Village's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[6] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital 2,700
2 GCA Services 1,500
3 University Subscription Services 1,050
4 Midwestern University 1,000
4 Sara Lee 1,000
5 Acxiom 700
5 DeVry 700
6 RR Donnelley 600
7 Florists' Transworld Delivery 500
8 Dover 400
8 Magnetrol 400
9 HAVI Global Solutions 350
10 Hub Group 300


Map of the village's boundaries within DuPage County

Downers Grove is located at 41°47′41″N 88°01′01″W / 41.7948036°N 88.0169400°W / 41.7948036; -88.0169400.[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 14.3 square miles (37 km2), of which, 14.2 square miles (37 km2) of it is land and 0.07% is water. Only the DuPage County communities of Bartlett, Aurora, Naperville and Bolingbrook have larger land areas. The town is bordered by two forest preserves: Lyman Woods[7] and Maple Grove Forest Preserve.[8] A small creek runs through Maple Grove forest preserve. Downers Grove has been designated a Tree City USA for the past 22 years by the National Arbor Day Foundation.[9]

Downers Grove borders the communities of Oak Brook, Westmont, Darien, Lombard, Woodridge and Lisle.


Downers Grove is in a humid continental climate zone.[10] On average, July is the warmest month, and January is the coldest month. August typically has the most precipitation, and February the least. The record high for Downers Grove was 105 °F (41 °C) in July 2005, and the record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was set in January, 1985.[11][12]

Climate data for Downers Grove, Illinois
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 65
Average high °F (°C) 32
Average low °F (°C) 14
Record low °F (°C) −26
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.85
Source: [11][12]


The housing stock in Downers Grove comprises a mixture; some, generally near the center of town, date from the middle of the 19th century, but housing styles of each succeeding generation are represented. Downers Grove has witnessed one of the highest teardown rates in the Chicago area; small older residences are being demolished and replaced with much larger new houses.[13] Teardowns have been the source of much controversy within the village. Since they occupy much more land than the original houses, rainwater that was originally absorbed by their yards is directed into neighboring yards and streets, resulting in flooding.[14] Concerns have been expressed that teardowns reduce affordable housing in the town.[15]

Downers Grove prides itself on the presence of a large collection of Sears-Roebuck Catalog Homes, built using purchased kits between 1908 and 1940.[16] During 2006 and 2007, a movement arose to establish the 1846 Blodgett House as a museum of the Underground Railroad.[17] The house has now been moved onto the Downers Grove Museum Campus.[18]

In 2000, the mean value of all owner-occupied housing units was $215,754 and the median value was $195,900.[2]


The main line of the BNSF Railway, the line is also used by Metra commuter rail. Metra's BNSF Railway Line has three stops in Downers Grove at Belmont Road, Main Street, and Fairview Avenue. Interstate Highways 355 and 88 all pass through the community as well as the major surface street US 34-Ogden Avenue. Downers Grove is served by the Pace Bus Service, a system of suburban public transportation.

The Grove Commuter Shuttle runs four routes throughout the community to two of the three train station that are in the village. The shuttle also operates for the RotaryGrove Fest from remote parking lots on the north and south sides of the village located at the respective north and south high schools.[19]

Community events

Downers Grove is home to many unique boutique shops, dining establishments, and community events - Things To Do In Downers Grove. Downtown Downers Grove has quickly become a shopping and dining destination due to its location and variety. The Tivoli Theatre and over 140 community events and festivals, which attract thousands of visitors each year, has helped to earn Downtown Downers Grove a spot on Chicago Tribune’s “Top 10 List of Downtowns.” Over 600 acres (2.4 km2) of parks for recreational use are available with 450 recreational activities are available throughout the year. On Friday nights throughout the summer, antique and specialty cars park downtown in an informal car show. The Indian Boundary YMCA sponsors a Saturday morning farmer's market from June to October, and an ice sculpture festival is held in January.

The high school sporting events draw large crowds, especially the annual football game between Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School, the annual competition between the Hinsdale Central High School and the Downers Grove North football teams for the Old Oaken Bucket, and the football game for the Cannon between Hinsdale South High School and Downers Grove South.


Downers Grove is home to twelve public elementary schools, two public middle schools and two public high schools, Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School. Eleven of the elementary schools, including Hillcrest, Belle Aire, El Sierra, Kingsley, Fairmount, Highland, Whittier, Pierce Downer, Henry Puffer, Lester, and Indian Trail Schools and two of the middle schools, are part of Downers Grove Grade School District 58.[20] The other elementary schools, Prairieview and Elizabeth Ide and Lakeview Jr. High School, are part of Center Cass School District 66, O'Neill Middle School, which includes the extreme southern part of Downers Grove, as well as parts of Darien and Woodridge.[21]

The two high schools in Downers Grove, North and South, are part of Community High School District 99. They serve the entire community of Downers Grove, the majority of the village of Woodridge, and parts of Westmont, Darien, Lisle, Bolingbrook, Oak Brook and unincorporated Downers Grove and Lisle Townships.

Both high schools perform very well academically, with District 99 posting an average ACT score of 22.6 in the 2006 administration, 2.3 points above the state average.[22] The 2004 Illinois School Report Card[23] gave North High School an overall achievement rating of 73.4/100, while South High School received a score of 66.3, ranking them 7th and 13th respectively out of 22 DuPage County high schools.

Downers Grove is home to the Avery Coonley School.[24] Founded in 1906 and in its present location in Downers Grove since 1929, it is a highly prestigious private K-8 school, known for its math and science-oriented teaching as well as its focus on the arts and foreign language.

Downers Grove is also the home of Midwestern University, which trains osteopathic physicians and surgeons, physician's assistants, pharmacists, physical, occupational therapists and now even dentists.

According to the 2000 United States Census, Downers Grove has one of the nation's most educated citizenry, with 36.4% of individuals over the age of 25 holding bachelor's or advanced degrees; the national average is 24.4%.[2]



The Village of Downers Grove operates under a council-manager form of government. The Village Council is the policy-making body that authorizes a professional manager to oversee the daily operations of the village. In addition to the Municipal Code, which establishes many of the rules and regulations by which the Village operates, the Council has also adopted separate council policies on several matters related to municipal activities.

As of the April 7, 2009 election, the Village Council commissioners are Geoff Neustadt, William Waldack, Marilyn Schnell, Robert Barnett, Sean Durkin, and Bruce Beckman. Martin Tully is Mayor.

The elections for village positions in the village have traditionally been non-partisan; the candidates' party affiliations do not appear on the ballot, and direct party funding was not practiced. The local Republican Party and Democratic Party organizations have not, in the past, openly issued endorsements of the candidates.

State and national

Downers Grove is within the 13th US Congressional District of Illinois (map), and as of 2009 is represented by Judy Biggert (Republican). It is part of the Illinois Senate's 21st Legislative District and the Illinois House of Representatives's 42nd Representative District.

In the November 2004 general election, George W. Bush received 39,966 votes in Downers Grove Township, John Kerry received 32,155 votes, and the Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik received 438 votes.[25] By contrast, in the same election, the Illinois Democratic senatorial candidate Barack Obama received 45,721 votes, while his Republican opponent Alan Keyes received 22,167 votes.[25] In 2006, the 4 July parade in Downers Grove featured both of the major Illinois gubernatorial candidates at the time, Judy Baar Topinka (R) and Rod Blagojevich (D).[26]


Downers Grove drinking water comes from Lake Michigan, via the DuPage Water Commission pipeline, which purchases the water from the City of Chicago Department of Water Management.[27] Its electricity infrastructure is largely maintained by Commonwealth Edison Company;[28] (ComEd); its natural gas infrastructure was built by Northern Illinois Gas.[29]

Household waste pickup is contracted out by the village, as is yard waste pickup; these are paid for by household-purchased stickers. Curbside recycling is free.

Waste water is treated by the Downers Grove Sanitary District.[30]


As of the census of 2000, there were 48,724 people, 18,979 households and 13,019 families residing in the village.[2] The population density was 3,420.2 people per square mile (1,320.2/km²). There were 19,477 housing units at an average density of 1,367.2 per square mile (527.7/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 90.15% White/Euro American, 1.92% Black, 0.11% Native American, 5.71% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.00% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.59% of the population.

There were 18,979 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.1% were married couples living together, and 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the village, the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64 and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the village was $72,521, and the median income for a family was $96,327.[31] The mean income for a family was $95,532. Males had a median income of $56,422 versus $36,938 for females. The per capita income for the village was $31,580. About 1.3% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Village of Downers Grove, Illinois
  2. ^ a b c d e "American FactFinder". Census 2000 Fact Sheet. United States Census Bureau. 2000. Retrieved 4 January 2009. 
  3. ^ "Downers Grove village, Illinois - Population Finder". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  4. ^ About Arrow Gear
  5. ^ About Magnetrol
  6. ^ Village of Downers Grove 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  7. ^ Lyman Woods[dead link]
  8. ^ Maple Grove Forest Preserve[dead link]
  9. ^ Tree City USA
  10. ^ "North American climate". Encyclopedia and Learning Resources. world Book Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  11. ^ a b "Average Weather for Downers Grove, IL - Temperature and Precipitation". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  12. ^ a b "Average Weather for Downers Grove, IL - Temperature and Precipitation". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  13. ^ Teardowns in the News. National Trust for Historic Preservation. Retrieved October 29, 2007. Archived October 29, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Downers Grove Coalition for Managed Redevelopment
  15. ^ 7 candidates, 7 visions for future of village. The Downers Grove Sun, February 15, 2007. Retrieved October 29, 2007.[dead link]
  16. ^ Tracing the History of Your House. Downers Grove Library. Retrieved October 29, 2007. Archived November 18, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ 1846 Blodgett House., September 13, 2007. Accessed May 10, 2008.
  18. ^ Move means homecoming for historic Downers Grove house. Chicago Tribune, May 6, 2008. Accessed May 10, 2008.
  19. ^ Grove Commuter Shuttle FAQ[dead link]
  20. ^ Downers Grove Grade School District 58
  21. ^ Center Cass School District 66
  22. ^ "ILLINOIS DISTRICT REPORT CARD: CHSD 99" (PDF). Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  23. ^ Illinois School Report Card 2004
  24. ^ The Avery Coonley School Archived 19 July 2007 at WebCite
  25. ^ a b November 2004 Election results for Downers Grove Township
  26. ^ Blagojevich and Topinka both make appearances at the Downers Grove 4th of July parade
  27. ^ "Village of Downers Grove". Archived from the original on June 25, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  28. ^ [1][dead link]
  29. ^ Nicor Inc. Home Page - Nicor
  30. ^ "Downers Grove Sanitary District". 2009-08-07. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  31. ^ "Downers Grove village, Illinois - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder". Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  32. ^ Bob Bryar at the Internet Movie Database
  33. ^ "Player Profile: Eric Lichaj". Aston Villa F. C.. 2009.,,10265~46651,00.html. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  34. ^ "Player Bio: Eric Lichaj". Men's Soccer. North Carolina Tar Heels. 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  35. ^ US House of Representatives - Biographies[dead link]

External links

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