Timeline of Early Downers Grove

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 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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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 in…
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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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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.

Downers Grove is Incorporated
Downers Grove is Incorporated

In 1873 approval was given for village incorporation, with 49 aye votes and 38 nays. T. S. Rogers was chosen first village president, serving sixteen years. Operating expenses that year were $600, half spent for streets and alleys. The first sidewalk of two inch planks was built along Maple Avenue.

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