Kiwanis Club of Downers Grove
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515

Maple Avenue
Historic Walk

Historical data compiled from information obtained from the Downers Grove Historical Museum, the Downers Grove Library, the State of Illinois Archives, present owners/occupants of the homes, previous owners or their relatives, genealogy files, Downers Grove Reporter, and the Downers Grove Sun articles.

July 1982 Sesquintennial Year
Revisited after 25 years


Research and Text Pauline Wandschneider                     

Virginia A. Stehney

Marcia Jolitz

Architectural Consultant W. Lockwood Martling, Jr.

Cover Sketch James G. Albright

Coordinator Ardith Thygesen

Editor and Composer Curtis Frank

 Printing and distribution: by the Downers Grove Kiwanis Morning Club.

Original Printing August, 1980
Revisited June 2007

Copyright Ó 2006-2007 Kiwanis Club of Downers Grove,
All Rights Reserved

Maple Avenue


(Self-Guided tour featuring the buildings of the nineteenth century)



In the summer of 1838 Israel Blodgett (the father) and Samuel Curtiss used 6 yoke of oxen (12 oxen) to pull an oak log back and forth for about two miles to widen a trail. They planted maple saplings along the roadside. The road they made was named "Chicago Road" because it led northeastward to that community. Later, the road name was changed to "Maple Avenue". Thanks to these two early settlers, we still enjoy the beauty and shade of some of these impressive trees.

Note: Look for some of the remaining brick sidewalks that replaced the original 1873 wooden planks, They were and still are easy to repair.




Charles Blair Blodgett was the 8th and youngest son, of Israel Porter Blodgett (Sr.) and Avis Dodge. Charles age 53 and his wife, Emma Brookins age 49, were married 1866 in DuPage and had three sons when they built this gracious Queen Anne house in 1892 that is now the DOWNERS GROVE HISTORICAL MUSEUM. Avis lived with Charles and Emma on their farm in Downers Grove. The Blodgett house was the third house on this lot. The first was a log cabin. The second house was built in 1846 and completed in 1849 with the help of the 2nd son, Israel P. Blodgett (Jr.). It was moved south on Blodgett land in the late 1880's after Israel (Jr.) returned to Downers Grove and is at 812 Randall (See Addendum). The present house has brass hardware, sliding parlor doors, and a golden oak stairway with turned balusters and hand-carved newel posts. It originally had verge board on gables on east and west sides and a cupola.

Note: originally had balusters on front porch rail like those on rear porch and ornamental brackets on gables



This retirement home of Emerson O. and Mary Allen Stanley is similar to the Blodgett house and was also built in 1892. It too has a lovely open stairway and has a carved mantel and tiles imported from England set into the mantel.

Note: half circle window, stained glass window beside front door, leaded glass transom, paneled oak door with beveled plate glass

811 Maple - MOCHEL HOUSE

Built around 1910 for Charles and Caroline Mochel who were married in 1885. It has a few leaded windows and golden oak woodwork and floors and built-in buffet across end of dining room and built-in vacuum system.

805 Maple

Built in 1888.

Note: balusters in porch railing; 2-story bay window; iron railings and posts not original

Revisited: iron railings and posts replaced to compatible style




743 Maple

Note: simple 2-story frame house virtually unaltered; had movable shutters



735 Maple - DAILY HOUSE

Present owner believes Willard Daily, a carpenter, had a "shell" built and he completed it in 1886.

Note: accents in contrasting color; neat little attic window; verge board treatment in the gable; small front porch; tiffany windows

731 Maple

Note: 3-story circular turret; shingle gable; wood brackets under eaves of main roof and sub-cornice; old stone chimney same material as foundation


This house was built in 1898 by: Henry H. Woelfersheim born 1862 in Naperville, a stonemason that laid the first drainage pipes for St. Joseph Creek under the center of town. Mr. Woelfersheim was married to Amelia Hammerschmidt in 1891 and then to Nelly Florence. House has had only three owners: Woelfersheims; the Woelfersheim daughter, Mrs. Henrietta Schultz, born about 1892; and the present owners.

Note: carriage step at street with family (thought to be the only one in town); ornamental finial atop turret; well-done color styling with contrasting corner boards

Revisited: ornamental finial atop turret missing; new owner is Brian Morrow.

701 Maple

Note: Queen Anne style; railing and newel posts on corner balconies; lattice- work; leaded glass in window beside front door and over large living room window; eaves were probably cut





Austin Richards is thought to have built this typical early American farmhouse with attached barn in 1855. Originally its main entrance was facing west. Note: original main entryway still can be seen. In the barn, windows were located over the two stalls (for the horses to look out?). For many years, until 1957, the Strong family lived here. Then for the next 20 years the Bob Dicke family were the owners-occupants.

Note: outstanding color treatment; arched window heads and barn door; panels below bay window; limestone walk; new foundation

Revisited: The house and barn were demolished in 2001 and two houses have been built on the site.

710 Maple - CAPT. COLE HOUSE

In 1864, Capt. J.J. Cole, a Civil War soldier, built this house using trees on the property. It has hand-hewn studding and wooden pegs. The original main entry faced east opposite the AUSTIN RICHARDS house at 702 Maple, which was built 9 years earlier. There were no houses in between them, which gave them a common lawn. Four families lived here from 1864-1968: Cole, Austin, Anthony, and Rutherford.

Note: historically incompatible iron railings (probably none on original side porch which is now the main entry)

726 Maple

Note: 1 1/2-story; beautiful gabled treatment; corner boards



Erected in the 1850's for Judge James B. Mackie, Circuit Court judge in Wheaton.

Note: wood shingles in gable; typical Victorian window treatment with large panes in center; surrounding small panes in upper sash; historically incompatible picture window

806 Maple - LYMAN HOUSE

THE OLDEST HOME IN DOWNERS GROVE was built in 1839 in the Greek revival style by abolitionist Rev. Orange Lyman, Presbyterian minister, age 59, and his wife, Marcia Dewey, age 43. They had seven children when they built this home. The iron fence surrounded the property, which extended east to Mackie Place and north to Curtiss Street. For many years this was the home of the Reil family, some of who still live in the area.

Note: pillars, stucco probably added in the 1930's, probably had ornate wood shingling in the eaves Revisited: purchased 2004 by John Jacobs who filed application to demolish then choose to live in home. West garden was destroyed for new house.

820 Maple

This house, erected in the late 1800's, originally sat on the corner lot to the west. Past owners include Belden, Curtiss, Lyman, and Methodist church, which used it as a parsonage. It has 10-foot ceilings and the original windows downstairs.

Note: beautiful posts and other details on porch; spindled fretwork and band sawn brackets on porch eaves; latticework



This home was built in the 1840's for Edward, born 1803, and Laura Ann (nee: Harmon) Goodenough, born 1805. They were married in 1825 in New York. Believed to have been a station on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.

Note: low ceilings; stucco over original wood siding, probably added in the 1930's; one bracket still remaining on east gable

Revisited: bracket now missing

840 Maple

Note: shingles in gambel-roofed gables; oval and circular windows; Doric columns; and original wood porch railing

844 Maple - (2nd) CLIFFORD HOUSE

Built by the Cliffords after they decided the 13-room house at 850 was too large. The Clifford daughters lived here for many years.

Note: still has original siding and hinged wooden shutters with movable louvers that fit windows; original cornice treatment over windows; bay on the west with unevenness (wiggles) in the glass, showing age; board and batten barn in rear

850 Maple - (Original) CLIFFORD HOUSE

Built in 1893 for the Cliffords, that had two daughters. When they decided it was too large, they built and moved into 844 Maple, just to the east.

Note: ornamental wood on the verge boards; wood shingling in gables; and small attic windows


902 Maple - HEARTT HOUSE

Irving G. Heartt, and Lulu Winefred Rassweilwer, both age 34, built this home in 1912 as a frame Victorian house and later had it changed to a brick Regency style. Irving was a retail lumber dealer. A porch and dormers were removed and double French doors with leaded glass were added to all interior doorways.


(See addendum for family history)

Note: fine color treatment; long windows on 1st floor with upper sash 2 panes high, lower 4 panes high; half circle window; wide fascia board under eaves on the west (Greek Revival treatment) Revisited: aluminum siding has been added that maintains the original lines


W.H. Edwards built this stately Victorian home in the 1880's or 1890's. Realty ad from the 1930's mentions 5 twin-size bedrooms.

Note: 2 turrets with conical roofs; porch on 2nd as well as 1st floor; original siding; bracketed eaves all around




& Main
Erected in 1875 by Jim Sucher, blacksmith and ironworker, on the site of his business with N. A. Belden who opened a blacksmith shop in 1844, This is THE OLDEST BRICK BUILDING IN THE VILLAGE and has walls one foot thick. The bricks were made in a brickyard located about where Pepperidge Farm, Inc. stands today, east of Fairview, south of the railroad. Over the years it has had various uses and in 1975 was modernized for offices


Built by Henry Carpenter in 1843 this Midwestern farmhouse style home was the first post office and general store as well as Carpenter's home. It should be noted that the original main street was West of the cemetery, and that Carpenter's land was the original Southwest corner of Maple and Main (See Addendum). He was the first individual in the community to subdivide his property, and 1852 he donated the land forming part of the original Northwest corner of Maple and Main for the Methodist Episcopal Church.

During the Bicentennial year the owner leased the house for a "general store and post office", where special cancellations were made each month for collectors.


 In 1838 a log school was build on Maple near Carpenter and served as the church on Sunday’s. The first church building was built on the land of Henry Carpenter (See above) and land purchased from Samuel Curtiss and from Mary Curtiss in 1852. This first building was destroyed by fire in 1879, and replaced in 1880 by a building moved in 1894 to 5321 Lane place by James     Batterham and converted to a residence.




This home built in the 1860’s originally had 3 rooms down and 3 above. Home has massive interior doors, original wainscoting, old glass doorknobs, and a beautiful open stairway. Historically incompatible iron railings and roof over steps were added rather recently. (See addendum for family history)

Note: the long windows; ornate details over 1st floor windows; simpler details over 2nd floor and attic windows; ornate bracketed gables; original front door

Revisited: the iron railings have been replaced with compatible wood railings; the circular turn bell ringer outline can be seen on the front door


For more than 100 years, LINCOLN SCHOOL was on this site. In 1867, when the schoolhouse built in 1846 at Maple and Dunham was inadequate, a two-room building was erected here in 1867. Ten years later two rooms were added. In 1901, with schoolrooms scattered in five buildings, a redbrick building with sandstone trimming was finished, which used a portion of the old structure. It had two stories, with 4 rooms on each floor plus 2 rooms in the old structure. In 1913 it was voted to build a 3-story high school, which was erected adjoining the rear of the grade school and did away with the old portion built in 1877. Between 1913-1939 there were two more additions.

In 1876 10 years of school were offered, including 2 years of high school. The first class graduated in 1879. Among the participants at the exercises was James Henry Breasted, later to become a world-renowned Egyptologist who aided in the excavation of King Tut's tomb.

Bought by the D.G. Park District in 1974 and considerably remodeled, Lincoln Center is now a busy community center





The white frame building, dedicated in March 1872, was the second Baptist Church building. The first, which had been dedicated in January 1854, was destroyed by fire. This white building, called "the chapel", is used as an educational center. Most of the leaded windows are dedicated to individuals.

Note: octagonal bell tower; circle head windows; curved bay

Revisited: the small leaded windows in the curved bay have all been removed



909 Maple

Note: massive Queen Anne with 3-story octagonal turret; new siding

905 Maple

Note: 2-story octagonal turret; transoms over windows; bay window on the side; porch added probably 1940's





Note: lovely stained glass transom; 1st floor windows; brackets under 2nd floor overhang to the east; wood muntins in upper window sash and in front door; details in gable have been covered over

847 Maple - L.E. STANLEY HOUSE

Note: stately, square, hip-roofed home with dormer; 2-story bay; massive beveled posts on large porch; original small balusters in porch railing

Revisited: massive beveled posts on large porch have been replace or covered by massive square columns; original balusters have been replaced


In 1893 an architect built this Queen Anne house for his parents, Harriet and W.E.S. Trowbridge.

Note: leaded glass windows on 1st and 2nd floors; west windows that go up the stairway; double bays (extending 2 stories); curved bay on the east; 3-story octagonal turret; original porch and railing; lattice treatment under the porch floor







Israel Porter Blodgett (Sr.)

Israel Porter Blodgett (Sr.) was born in Amherst, Mass. on March 4, 17971 and learned blacksmithing from his father. He visited Peoria Illinois in the winter of 18302 to seek a new home and returned to Amherst Massachusetts in the spring of 1831 to move his wife and family of four children to DuPage County. An Indian alarm in May 1832 sent them to Fort Dearborn for 6 weeks and then to a log fort in Naperville for 5 weeks. He latter had a factory in Naperville where he made prairie plows. On February 1,1836 he moved his family to Downers Grove. In that year he made 8 separate land purchases totaling 63,144 acres of land. Four additional children were born in Illinois. In July of 1849, his 3rd son, Gary Pomeroy age 21 and his 4th son, Daniel Kingsley age 18 both died within 3 days of each other. Israel Blodgett (Jr.) had left for California and Henry William, his 1st son, had already moved to Waukegan with his bride Athena. Israel Blodgett (Sr.) died November 24, 1861 in Downers Grove, but his wife continued to live in the house until 1874. She died on March 10, 1882. The family was active abolitionists. Israel (Sr.) was fired from the West Virginia armory for teaching a black boy how to follow the North Star. Israel Blodgett (Sr.), his sons Henry, and Israel Blodgett (Jr.) were all active in "the underground railroad" between Aurora and Chicago where the stop was at Philo Carpenter's.



1History of DuPage County, Illinois by Rufus Blanchard, 1882, Pages 80-81, 202-203.
21874 Atlas & History of DuPage County, Illinois by Thompson Bros. & Burr., reprint 1974 by DuPage County Historical Society. Page 25.

812 Randall- Israel Porter Blodgett (Jr.) House

Israel Porter Blodgett (Jr.), the 2nd son of Israel (Sr.), was born September 14, 18233 in Belchertown Massachusetts. He helped complete this simple 1½ -story frame house in 1849 at 831 Maple, and he helped build a much-needed sawmill. In 18494 he went to California where he mined and dealt in stock and merchandising5 before returning to DuPage County in 1858. At the age of 35, he married Mary M., age 25, on August 30, 1859 and settled in Lisle Township where he owned 116 acres and bred Clydesdale horses. In Lisle, he served as road commissioner, town clerk and Justice of the Peace. It is believed that Mary previously served as a teacher in Downers Grove at the age of 12 (1845). They had three children: Edward (1861), Charles (1863) and Corrina (1865). In March 1882 after his mother's death, they returned to Downers Grove and they moved the house at 831 Maple shortly thereafter to the present location. This 2-bedroom house is built on a high stone foundation with low ceilings. It is likely that Israel (Jr.) and his new bride preferred the view from the full front porch overlooking the much lower meadows to the South (Now Randall Park).

Note: front porch with side steps for the drive and access to the Blodgett properties

Revisited: aluminum siding covers original features




3J. A. Smith's Families of Amherst, Massachusetts
History of DuPage County, Illinois by Rufus Blanchard, 1882, Pages 80-81.
51874 Atlas & History of DuPage County, Illinois by Thompson Bros. & Burr., reprint 1974 by DuPage County Historical Society. Page 40.


Christian Leibundguth age 39 emigrated from Alsace, Bas Rhine, France in Oct. 1846 with his wife Barbara Radz age 40 and four children: Christian age 11, Peter age 4, Katherine age 2, and Michael, born at sea. A fifth child, Ellen, was born two years latter in Germany. The family settled in Cass, Illinois.

Christian Leibundguth age 24, married Ellen Heintz, in 1860 in Cass, and had 3 children between 1861 and 1866. It is believed they lived at 928 Maple, but then moved to Globe Station. Ellen was remarried to Claus Harder after Christian died in 1877 in Globe Station (Riverdale), Illinois.

Peter Leibundguth married Caroline Atzel, both age 23, in 1866 in Cass, Peter had worked for Atzel's "Feed and Seed" store in Chicago prior to enlisting in the Civil War. He served with Gen. Sherman from the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain through the end of the war. For a brief time, Peter also ran a dairy in Cass. It is believed they lived at 943 Maple before their family became too large with thirteen children born between 1867 and 1887. In 1904 the house is identified as the Estate of T. Atzel who were Caroline's parents. Peter and Caroline's oldest son, William, was known to have lived with his grandparents Tobais and Magdelena Atzel in 1880 along with their daughter (?) Emma Haine. Tobais and Magdelena both died in 1893.

Katherine Leibundguth married George Atzel both age 22, in 1866 in DuPage. They had two children 1876 and 1886.

Ellen Leibundguth married John Atzel, again both the same age. They had four children between 1875 and 1880.

Caroline, George, and John were all children of Tobais Atzel and Magdelena Hass, from Alsace, Bas Rhine, France. The Atzel's had nine children born between 1842 and 1858.



Prior to the Civil War, Main Street started on the West side of the property  where the new fire station is built and led northwestward pass the West side of the cemetery, paralleled and then crossed St. Joseph's Creek continuing West of where Forest crosses  the tracks today roughly following the Indian path by Pierce Downer's house (note the 1874 Atlas spells Downer's Grove with an apostrophe) and ending at a toll connection on the Aurora Plank Road East of Finley. Flooding of St. Joseph's Creek made the original Main Street impassible in the Spring causing Pierce Downer and his wife to be buried on their property because of the 1863 flood. It should be noted, that even in 1874, the original Carpenter’s Street did not go beyond St. Joseph’s Creek. A new train connection was proposed, and a central  location was sought for the station. Union Street was laid to the new train station from the South with a bridge over St. Joseph's Creek. North of the tracks, Burlington Street (now Highland) was laid with a Southwest connection  to Union Street proposed (see dotted extension). The 1862 jog in Main Street1 at the present  day 55th Street was eliminated. The first train arrived in Downers Grove in 1864. For a number of years one train a day traveled in each direction with one track and one side track at the station. Latter, Union Street was extended to cross due North of the tracks and became the new Main Street and the station located to the West. The land occupied by and between Main Street South of Maple and Union Street was sub-divided into small lots by Blachard's Subdivision..

By 1904, there were three main tracks with two side tracks On the adjacent map, Liberty was extended to cross just East of the switch yard connecting to a Maple Street on the North side. Both streets were renamed Washington. Curtiss (note the 1874 Atlas spells Curtis with one s) was extended to Mackie Place just North of the T. Lyman property and the crossing at Mackie Place was abandoned.

1 1862 DuPage County Map - Downers Grove Library 997.324 BEN



1874 Atlas & History of DuPage County, Illinois
(Original Main Street shown as dotted)