DGHS

Timeline of Downers Grove

Compiled using research and images courtesy of the Downers Grove Museum.

Potawatomi tribe extends into Central Illinois
Prairie Native American

From the 1760s to 1832, the Potawatomi tribe extended into northern Illinois. In this painting by artist Les Schrader, Potawatomi Chief Aptakisic says goodbye to Naperville settlers after escorting them to Fort Dearborn in Chicago during the Black Hawk War of 1832. The Israel Blodgett Family were among those who…
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Downers Grove was almost part of Wisconsin
1814 Map of Illinois

This map shows the proposed boundaries for the proposed state of Illinois as of 1814. The Illinois Congressional delegation, led by Nathaniel Pope, pushed for an amendment to the original statehood bill to extend the border sixty miles north. This insured access to Lake Michigan and the lead mines in…
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Illinois becomes the Union’s 18th state
Illinois

Illinois achieved full statehood on Dec 3, 1818. Though Illinois presented unique challenges to immigrants unaccustomed to the soil and vegetation of the area, it also promised great opportunities and it grew to become a bustling and densely populated state. With it's access to both Lake Michigan in the Northeast…
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Pierce Downer Arrives
Pierce Downer

The first settler in Downers Grove was Pierce Downer, who arrived in 1832. This Vermont native, but long-time New York resident, camped alone in a grove of oak trees at the fork of two ancient Indian trails. He staked his claim to the surrounding 160 acres of prairie and timberland,…
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Treaty of Chicago
Treaty of Chicago

Potawatomi tribe cedes its land in Illinois

Israel and Avis Blodgett arrive
Israel Porter Blodgett

In 1836, Israel Blodgett and wife Avis left a homestead near Naperville to establish a farm and blacksmith shop south of what was to become Maple Avenue. Some of Israel's earliest customers were Indians who brought firearms to be repaired. Israel and Avis Blodgett were one of the first settlers…
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Maple Avenue is widened
Israel Blodgett and Samuel Curtiss widen Maple Avenue from a Native trail to a road.

Israel Blodgett and Samuel Curtiss widen Maple Avenue from a Native trail to a road.

DuPage County Created

February 9, 1839 — the law organizing DuPage County out of the Western part of Cook County was approved. The boundaries of this county included not only the current county limits but the north half of two current Will County Townships.

Oldest Standing House Built
Lyman House

1839 — The oldest standing home in Downers Grove is built by Reverend Orange Lyman at 806 Maple Avenue.

Henry & Martha Carpenter first arrive
Henry Selig's Barber Shop

After receiving letters from Martha's brother-in-law Walter Blanchard describing the opportunities out west, Henry and Martha decided to come west to farm. Walter, who sold him a hundred acres of land, had moved here in 1836. When Henry came here with his family in 1839 when there were only six families in the…
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Eli Curtiss Named First Postmaster

Sept. 11 1839 — Eli Curtiss was named the first postmaster in Downers Grove.

Henry Carpenter Opens Post Office
Henry Selig's Barber Shop

Henry Carpenter opened the first store and post office in 1842. Carpenter also subdivided his land, resulting in growth of the village near his store on Maple Avenue just west of the future Main Street.

Henry Carpenter appointed postmaster
Henry Carpenter

In Sept. 1843, Henry Carpenter was appointed postmaster, as he established a post office in his home and general store on Maple and Lane Place.

Blodgetts move to new home
1846 Blodgett Home

Israel and Avis Blodgett, and their eight children, move from their log cabin into their new frame home.

Plank Road Constructed
Plank Road Constructed

Plank Road (now Ogden Avenue) is constructed.

The Plow Boys Campaign for Abraham Lincoln
The Plow Boys Campaign for Abraham Lincoln

A political group, called The Plow Boys, campaign for Abraham Lincoln.

Civil War Begins
Civil War Begins

Between 1861 and 1865, over 100 Downers Grove men serve during the Civil War, including three members of the Blodgett family.

The Downers Grove Infantry Mustered into Service
Downers Grove Infantry Mustered

May 24, 1861 The Downers Grove Company, the 13th Illinois Volunteer Infantry led by Captain Walter Blanchard was mustered into service at Dixon, IL.

CB&Q Railroad Arrives in Downers Grove
CB&Q Railroad Arrives in Downers Grove

May 1864 - The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad [C.B. & Q.] Railroad is built through Downers Grove. It is now called the Burlington, Northern & Santa Fe Line [BNSF].

Civil War Ends
Civil War Ends

April 9, 1865

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