If you lived in Downers Grove before 1960, you might remember what the northeast corner of Maple Avenue and Main Street looked like back them. Today, the corner is the site of the Main and Maple Apartments, but from 1909 to 1960, the First Evangelical Church could be found here.
Downtown Downers Grove is home to buildings from many different eras, each with its own unique architectural and commercial history. Some have been recognized by the Historic Sites Program, while others may be candidates for future recognition. These buildings, and predecessor structures at the some locations, have been documented below. By telling the stories of these buildings, we help preserve the importance of the role the downtown area has in shaping the Village of Downers Grove.
Historic Downtown Buildings in Downers Grove
5300 Main Street Blacksmith and ironworker, James William Sucher, erected this humble brick building in 1875 as his smithy. James and his father, Phillip, established the business in 1854. This is the oldest brick building in Downers Grove and has walls one foot thick. The bricks were pressed most likely in
5123 Main Street In 1940, Herb Karroll opened Herbert’s for Men and Boys at this location. Herbert’s was briefly owned by Goldblatt’s. Laurie Handelsman acquired the store in 1945 and in 1964 expanded into the neighboring Sovereigns Bakery. Handelsman retired in 1990, selling the store to long-time employee Duane Baker.
5157 Main Street In August of 1951, a brand new ultra-modern Jewel Food Store opened at this location with over 6500 people attending a grand opening celebration held in the parking lot behind the building. In the early 1960’s, Jewel moved to the corner of 63rd and Main Street. George
5150 Main Street On this spot, years ago, the St. Joseph Creek flowed through the Downers Grove downtown. In the early 1960s, the creek was rerouted underground by way of a 12-foot diameter pipe. In 1964, on the reclaimed land, Herman Giesche, Jr. relocated his shoe store, Giesche Shoes, to
5101 Mochel Drive Before the addition of Mochel Drive in 2006, this location was 945 Burlington Avenue. In the 1940s, Eichmann Motor Sales sold Nash automobiles here. From the 1950s through 1970s, this location became headquarters for the Downers Grove Police and Court. When the building was torn down, the site became a