Founder of the Year Award

The Downers Grove Historical Society honors individuals who have made significant contributions to Downers Grove. One of these three awards is the Founder of the Year. This award was created in 2014 to honor individuals instrumental in the founding of Downers Grove. It is celebrated in conjunction with the annual spring Downers Grove Founder’s Day celebration. 

Founders of the Year:

Isrel Larry Blackburn

2024: Isrel Larry Blackburn

DG Historical Society is pleased to announce Isrel Larry Blackburn as the Founder of the Year for 2024. Isrel Larry Blackburn was born into slavery in Mercer County, Kentucky on

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Abigail Stearns Root

2023: Abigail Stearns Root

On Saturday, May 6, 2023, the Downers Grove Historical Society honored Abigail Stearns Root as their first female Founder of the Year. The ceremony was held at the at Main Street Cemetery in

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John Manning Wells

2022: John Manning Wells

John Manning Wells was chosen as the 2022 Founder of the Year. As part of the Downers Grove Founders Day activities, his selection was celebrated at a ceremony at the Downers Grove

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Photo not on file

2019: Henry Carpenter

Henry Carpenter was an early pioneer arriving in Downers Grove in 1939. He opened the first general store in the area,  served the village in numerous roles, was instrumental in

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Walter Blanchard

2018: Walter Blanchard

Walter Blanchard was honored by the Downers Grove Historical Society as the 2018 Founder of the Year. Walter Blanchard was one of the first pioneers of Downers Grove and most prominent citizens

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Israel Porter Blodgett

2017: Israel Blodgett

Israel Porter Blodgett was an early settler of  Downers Grove and noted abolitionist. He was very active in the underground railroad. In 2023, his home was acknowledged as an official

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John Stanley

2016: John Stanley

John Stanley arrived in Downers Grove in 1835 with his parents, Dexter and Nancy Stanley. They were the first full family to settle here.   John grew up and worked on

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Samuel Curtiss

2015: Samuel Curtiss

Samuel Curtiss was an early settler of Downers Grove. He donated the land for Main Street Cemetery, improved Maple Avenue, was active in the Underground Railroad, and was the first

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Pierce Downer

2014: Pierce Downer

In 1832 Pierce Downer was the first settler to arrive in the area that would later become Village of Downers Grove. He was appropriately chosen by the Downers Grove Historical

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