The Avery Coonley School is the incarnation of Queene Ferry Coonley’s educational philosophy. An advocate of the Progressive Movement in education, Mrs. Coonley hired the nationally known architect, Waldron Faulkner, to plan a facility in keeping with that philosophy. Working closely with Mrs. Coonley, he designed a beautiful place where children could grow, play and learn. A peaceful reflection pool is located in the school’s inner courtyard. The school, an excellent example of the Arts and Crafts architectural style, is devoted to the education of academically bright and gifted children.
The first site of what became the Avery Coonley School was on Grove Street (now Fishel Park), built in 1912. Mrs. Avery Coonley was President of the Kindergarten Extension Association and wanted to add a 2nd school after the first was built in Brookfield, Illinois. This offering consisted of two free kindergarten classes of 30 students each. It grew steadily over the next 17 years, adding more grades and additional courses to the curricula. A heavily-wooded site purchased from the Ducat estate was selected for a new building to house the growing student body. In this new location, the school name was renamed to The Avery Coonley School.
Avery Coonley is the only building in Downers Grove listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More historic and architectural information for Avery Coonley can be found in the National Archives Catalog.