Downers Grove, Illinois
Orange Lyman Home, constructed in 1839; purported to be a stop on the Underground Railroad.
|Official name: Village of Downers Grove|
|Nickname: "Downers" or "DG"|
|Townships||Downers Grove, Lisle, York|
|Elevation||705 ft (215 m)|
|- elevation||741 ft (226 m)|
|Area||14.45 sq mi (37 km2)|
|- land||14.30 sq mi (37 km2)|
|- water||0.15 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Population||49,715 (2014 est.)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP codes||60515, 60516, 60517|
|Area codes||630 and 331|
Downers Grove is a village in DuPage County, Illinois, United States. It was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, whose surname serves as the eponym for the village. Approximately 20 miles from the Loop, Downers Grove is a far south-western suburb of Chicago. The most recent census estimate tallied 49,715 residents in 2014.
Downers Grove was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, a religious evangelist from Wampsville, New York. Its other early settlers included the Blodgett, Curtiss, and Carpenter families. The original settlers were mostly migrants from the Northeastern United States and Northern Europe. The first schoolhouse was built in 1844.
The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was extended from Aurora to Chicago through Downers Grove in 1862, boosting its population. The town was incorporated in March 1873. Its somewhat unusual spelling ("Apostrophe-free since 1873") remains a minor historical mystery.
In April 1947 the wreck of a Burlington Railroad Twin Cities Zephyr passenger train killed three people, including the engineer. The streamliner struck a large tractor which had fallen from a freight train and two passenger cars crashed through a wall of the Main Street Station.
The construction of two major toll roads along the village's northern and western boundaries, I-355 in 1989 and what is now referred to as I-88 in 1958, facilitated its access to the rest of Chicago metropolitan area. Downers Grove has developed into a bustling Chicago suburb with many diverse businesses, including the headquarters for Devry University, FTD, Ambitech Engineering Corp, Dover, Heartland Food Corporation, and HAVI Global Solutions.
Downers Grove's roughly 50-minute (25-minute express) connection to the Loop via three BNSF Railway stations provides many working residents with a convenient commute to the city. Nevertheless, Downers Grove itself serves as headquarters for a multitude of locally, regionally, and nationally renowned businesses. Respective examples include Every Day's a Sundae, Advocate Health Care, and Fortune 500 member Dover Corporation. The village is also home to regional satellite offices of numerous national corporations, including Microsoft, MetLife, and State Farm.
Downers Grove's retail economy is largely supported by the local section of Ogden Avenue. Formerly part of U.S. Route 66, the stretch of Ogden Avenue that weaves through Chicago's western suburbs is particularly known for its extensive range of automobile dealerships, classic car dealerships, and service centers. Brands represented by Downers Grove auto groups include Aston Martin, Bentley, Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, Ford, Lamborghini, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Volkswagen. Ogden--a colloquial shortening of the road's name--is also framed by a variety of grocery and convenience stores such as CVS, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Jewel, Trader Joe's, and Walgreens. While the road serves primarily as a route to destinations, industrial and corporate parks that host the aforementioned headquarters can be found on Ogden's tributaries adjacent to major tollways such as I-355 or I-88.
According to the Village's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital||2,700|
|3||University Subscription Services||1,050|
|7||First Health Group||600|
|8||Florists' Transworld Delivery||500|
|9||Advocate Health Care||420|
|9||Blue Cross Blue Shield||420|
Downers Grove is located at .
According to the 2010 census, Downers Grove has a total area of 14.457 square miles (37.44 km2), of which 14.31 square miles (37.06 km2) (or 98.98%) is land and 0.147 square miles (0.38 km2) (or 1.02%) is water. Only the DuPage County communities of Bartlett, Aurora, Naperville and Bolingbrook have larger land areas. Within the town are two forest preserves: Lyman Woods and Maple Grove Forest Preserve. A small creek runs through Maple Grove forest preserve. Downers Grove has been designated a Tree City USA 28 times by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Downers Grove is in a humid continental climate zone. On average, January is the coldest month, and July is the warmest month. August typically has the most precipitation, and February the least. The record high for Downers Grove was 105 °F (41 °C) in July 2005, and the record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was set in January 1985.
|Climate data for Downers Grove, Illinois|
|Record high °F (°C)||65
|Average high °F (°C)||32
|Average low °F (°C)||14
|Record low °F (°C)||−26
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||1.85
The housing stock in Downers Grove comprises a mixture; some, generally near the center of town, date from the middle of the 19th century, but housing styles of each succeeding generation are represented. Downers Grove has witnessed one of the highest teardown rates in the Chicago area; small older residences are being demolished and replaced with much larger new houses. Teardowns have been the source of much controversy within the village. Since they occupy much more land than the original houses, rainwater that was originally absorbed by their yards is directed into neighboring yards and streets, resulting in flooding. Concerns have been expressed that teardowns reduce affordable housing in the town.
Downers Grove prides itself on the presence of about 25 Sears-Roebuck Catalog Homes, built using purchased kits between 1908 and 1940. During 2006 and 2007, a movement arose to establish the 1846 Blodgett House as a museum of the Underground Railroad. The house has now been moved onto the Downers Grove Museum Campus.
In 2012, the mean value of all owner-occupied housing units was $150,050 and the median value was $100,000.
In 2015, the median sales price of a single-family home in Downers Grove was $349,500. This is a 2.8% increase from 2014 and also the highest median sales price for Downers Grove since 2009. 
The main line of the BNSF Railway Line, the line is also used by Metra commuter rail. Metra's BNSF Railway Line has three stops in Downers Grove at Belmont Road, Main Street, and Fairview Avenue. Interstate Highways 355 and 88 all pass through the community as well as the major surface street US 34-Ogden Avenue. Downers Grove is served by the Pace Bus Service, a system of suburban public transportation.
The Grove Commuter Shuttle runs four routes throughout the community to two of the three train station that are in the village. The shuttle also operates for the RotaryGrove Fest from remote parking lots on the north and south sides of the village located at the respective north and south high schools.
Downers Grove is home to many unique boutique shops, dining establishments, and community events. Downtown Downers Grove has quickly become a shopping and dining destination due to its location and variety. The Tivoli Theatre and over 140 community events and festivals, which attract thousands of visitors each year, has helped to earn Downtown Downers Grove a spot on Chicago Tribune’s “Top 10 List of Downtowns.” Over 600 acres (2.4 km2) of parks for recreational use are available with 450 recreational activities are available throughout the year. On Friday nights throughout the summer, antique and specialty cars park downtown in an informal car show. The Indian Boundary YMCA sponsors a Saturday morning farmer's market from June to October, and an ice sculpture festival is held in January.
The Downers Grove Park district offers multiple events throughout the year for individuals and families. These events include sport, community and recreational activities.
The high school sporting events and local band concerts draw large crowds, especially the annual football game between Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School, the annual competition between the Hinsdale Central High School and the Downers Grove North football teams for the Old Oaken Bucket, and the football game for the Cannon between Hinsdale South High School and Downers Grove South.
Downers Grove is home to twelve public elementary schools, two public middle schools and two public high schools, Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School. Eleven of the elementary schools, including Hillcrest, Belle Aire, El Sierra, Kingsley, Fairmount, Highland, Whittier, Pierce Downer, Henry Puffer, Lester, and Indian Trail Schools and two of the middle schools-Herrick and O'Neill Middle School, are part of Downers Grove Grade School District 58. The other elementary schools, Prairieview and Elizabeth Ide and Lakeview Jr. High School, are part of Center Cass School District 66. Downers Grove has two Catholic Schools, St. Joseph's and St. Mary's of Gosytn that enroll students from pre-school through 8th grade. The two high schools in Downers Grove, North and South, are part of Community High School District 99. They serve the entire community of Downers Grove, the majority of the village of Woodridge, and parts of Westmont, Darien, Lisle, Bolingbrook, Oak Brook and unincorporated Downers Grove and Lisle Townships.
Both high schools perform very well academically, with District 99 posting an average ACT score of 23 in the 2015 administration, 2 points above the state average. The 2004 Illinois School Report Card gave North High School an overall achievement rating of 73.4/100, while South High School received a score of 66.3, ranking them 7th and 13th respectively out of 22 DuPage County high schools.
Downers Grove is home to the Avery Coonley School. Founded in 1906 and in its present location in Downers Grove since 1929, it is a private K-8 school, known for its math and science-oriented teaching as well as its focus on the arts and foreign language.
Downers Grove is also the home of Midwestern University, which trains osteopathic physicians and surgeons, physician assistants, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and dentists.
According to the American Community Survey 2010, Downers Grove has one of the nation's most educated citizenry, with 50.7% of individuals over the age of 25 holding bachelor's or advanced degrees; the national average is 27.9%.
The Village of Downers Grove operates under a magisterial council-manager form of government. The Village Council is the policy-making body that authorizes a professional manager to oversee the daily operations of the village. The Village Council is composed of the Mayor and six Commissioners elected at-large. In addition to the Municipal Code, which establishes many of the rules and regulations by which the Village operates, the Council has also adopted separate council policies on several matters related to municipal activities.
The Mayor of Downers Grove is Martin T. Tully. The Commissioners of Downers Grove are Robert T. Barnett, Greg Hose, William "Bill" White, William Waldack, Marge Earl and Nicole Walus. The Mayor and Commissioners are elected for four-year terms at odd-year Consolidated General Elections. The terms for Mayor Tully and Commissioners White, Waldack and Walus expire in May 2019. The terms for Commissioners Barnett, Hose, and Earl expire in May 2021.
The elections for Mayor and Commissioners are non-partisan; the candidates' party affiliations do not appear on the ballot, and direct party funding is not traditionally practiced.
State and national
The majority of the Village of Downers Grove is within the 6th US Congressional District of Illinois. As of 2013 this district is represented by Peter Roskam (Republican). Portions of southwest Downers Grove are within 11th US Congressional District. This district is represented by Bill Foster (Democratic).
The majority of the Village of Downers Grove is within the Illinois Senate 41st Legislative District, which is represented by Christine Radogno (Republican) as of 2015. A portion of northern Downers Grove is within the Illinois Senate 24th Legislative District, which is represented by Chris Nybo (Republican) as of 2015.
The majority of the Village of Downers Grove is within the Illinois House of Representatives 81st Representative District, which was represented by Ron Sandack (Republican) as of 2015. Sandack abruptly resigned in July 2016 citing issues with social media and "ugly" politics. In August, local Republican officials chose David S. Olsen, previously the mayor pro tem of Downers Grove, as the new Representative of the 81st District. Portions of northern Downers Grove are within the Illinois House of Representatives 47th Representative District, which is represented by Patti Bellock (Republican) and the Illinois House of Representatives 48th Representative District, which is represented by Peter Breen (Republican).
Downers Grove drinking water comes from Lake Michigan, via the DuPage Water Commission pipeline, which purchases the water from the City of Chicago Department of Water Management. Its electricity infrastructure is largely maintained by Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd); its natural gas infrastructure was built by Northern Illinois Gas.
Household waste pickup is contracted out by the village to Republic Services, as is yard waste pickup; these are paid for by either household-purchased stickers or rented carts. Curbside recycling is free.
Waste water is treated by the Downers Grove Sanitary District.
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the 2010 census, there were 47,833 people residing in the village. The population density was 3,420.2 people per square mile (1,320.2/km²). There were 20,478 housing units at an average density of 1,367.2 per square mile (527.7/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 88.5% White, 3.0% Black or African American, 0.2% American Indian and Alaska Native, 5.5% Asian, 0.6% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.2% of the population.
There were 1,979 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.1% were married couples living together, and 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the village, the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64 and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.
According to the 2010 American Community Survey, the median income for a household in the village was $84,269, and the median income for a family was $98,623. The mean income for a family was $108,798. Males had a median income of $63,553 versus $40,353 for females. The per capita income for the village was $43,579. About 1.7% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 18.2% of those age 65 or over.
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- Henry Williams Blodgett (1821-1905), United States federal judge and Illinois state representative
- Bob Bryar (b. 1979), drummer for My Chemical Romance
- Nick Burdi (b. 1993), baseball player
- Mark W. Clark (1896-1984), U.S. Army commanding officer in World War I and II; was raised in Downers Grove
- Greg Corner (b. 1974) bassist for Kill Hannah, co-host and musical director for JBTV 
- Andy Dunn (b. 1979), CEO of Bonobos Inc.
- Collin Fernandez (b. 1997), professional soccer player
- Lauren Frost (b. 1985), actress best known as Ruby Mendel in Disney Channel Original Series Even Stevens and Disney Channel Original Movie The Even Stevens Movie
- Cammi Granato (b. 1971), Olympic ice hockey champion
- Tony Granato (b. 1964), retired left winger and former head coach of the Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
- Miles Harvey (b. 1960), journalist and author
- F. Kenneth Iverson (1925–2002) CEO of Nucor Steel
- Eric Jagielo (b. 1992), baseball player
- Nancy Johnson (b. 1974), 2000 Summer Olympics gold medalist in the 10 metre air rifle
- Matt Jones (b. 1983), professional hockey player formerly with the Phoenix Coyotes (NHL)
- Dan LeFevour (b. 1987), professional quarterback for Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League
- Eric Lichaj (b. 1988), professional soccer player, currently with Nottingham Forest and also a member of the US national team
- Jim McDermott (b. 1936), U.S. representative representing Washington's 7th congressional district since 1988
- Sherrill Milnes (b. 1935), baritone, formerly with the Metropolitan Opera
- Bill Novey (1948–1991), head of special effects at Walt Disney Imagineering
- Emo Philips (b. 1956), comedian
- Lanny Poffo (b. 1954), professional wrestler
- "Shorty" Powers (1922–1979), NASA spokesman for Project Mercury
- Denise Richards (b. 1971), actress and former model, The World Is Not Enough, Wild Things, Denise Richards: It's Complicated
- John Ridgely (1909–1968), actor, The Big Sleep, Air Force, Destination Tokyo
- Randy Savage (1952-2011), Randall Mario Poffo, ring name "Macho Man", former professional wrestler and actor
- Luther Ely Smith (1873–1951), founder of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
- Barbara Stock (b. 1956), actress, Spenser: For Hire, Dallas
- Joseph Tumpach (1912-1968), Illinois state representative and motel owner
- Matthew West (b. 1977), contemporary Christian musician
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Downers Grove, Illinois.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Downers Grove.|
- Village of Downers Grove
- Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry
- Downers Grove Park District
- Downers Grove Public Library
- Downers Grove Visitors Bureau
- Downers Grove Grade School District 58
- Community High School District 99
- Township of Downers Grove
- Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance
- The Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation – 1846 Blodgett House
- The Downers Grove Reporter
- The Grove Foundation