Kiwanis Club of Downers Grove
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515
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
| Virginia A. Stehney
| Marcia Jolitz
||W. Lockwood Martling,
| Cover Sketch
||James G. Albright
| Editor and Composer
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
(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.
831 Maple - BLODGETT HOUSE
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
Note: originally had balusters on front porch
rail like those on rear porch and ornamental brackets on gables
819 Maple - STANLEY HOUSE
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.
circle window, stained glass window beside front door, leaded glass
transom, paneled oak door with beveled plate glass
811 Maple - MOCHEL HOUSE
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.
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
(FOR A SHORT WALK, YOU CAN CROSS
MAPLE AVENUE HERE, HEAD WEST, AND MOVE TO 806 MAPLE IN THIS PAMPHLET.)
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
attic window; verge board treatment in the gable; small front porch;
circular turret; shingle gable; wood brackets under eaves of main roof
and sub-cornice; old stone chimney same material as foundation
717 Maple - WOELFERSHEIM HOUSE
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
Note: carriage step at street with family
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.
Note: Queen Anne style; railing and newel
corner balconies; lattice- work; leaded glass in window beside front
door and over large living room window; eaves were probably cut
NOW CROSS MAPLE AVENUE.
702 Maple - AUSTIN RICHARDS HOUSE
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
Note: 1 1/2-story; beautiful gabled
treatment; corner boards
730 JUDGE MACKIE HOUSE
Erected in the 1850's for Judge James B.
Mackie, Circuit Court judge in Wheaton.
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.
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
Note: beautiful posts and other details on
porch; spindled fretwork and band sawn brackets on porch eaves;
832 Maple - GOODENOUGH HOUSE
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.
ceilings; stucco over original wood siding, probably added in the
1930's; one bracket still remaining on east gable
Revisited: bracket now missing
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
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
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.
928 Maple - LEIBUNDGUTH HOUSE
(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
942 Maple - EDWARDS HOUSE
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
AT THIS POINT
YOU CAN CROSS MAPLE AVENUE AND START BACK EAST OR TAKE A SIDE TRIP ONE
SHORT BLOCK WEST TO LANE PLACE.
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
1047 Maple - CARPENTER HOUSE
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
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.
1032 Maple - METHODIST EPISCOPAL
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
NOW RETURN TO MAPLE AND MAIN AND PROCEED EAST
943 Maple - LEIBUNDGUTH HOUSE
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
Note: the long
windows; ornate details over 1st floor windows; simpler details over
2nd floor and attic windows; ornate bracketed gables; original front
Revisited: the iron railings have
replaced with compatible wood railings; the circular turn bell ringer
outline can be seen on the front door
935 Maple - LINCOLN CENTER
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
||FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
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
octagonal bell tower; circle head windows; curved bay
the small leaded windows in the curved bay have all been removed
Note: massive Queen Anne with 3-story
octagonal turret; new siding
Note: 2-story octagonal turret; transoms over
windows; bay window on the side; porch added probably 1940's
853 Maple - CHARLES V. CARPENTER HOUSE
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
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
porch have been replace or covered by massive square columns; original
balusters have been replaced
843 Maple - TROWBRIDGE HOUSE
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
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
NOW YOU HAVE RETURNED TO THE HISTORICAL
MUSEUM. WE HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED YOUR STEP BACK INTO HISTORY.
Israel Porter Blodgett (Sr.)
Porter Blodgett (Sr.) was born in Amherst, Mass. on March 4, 17971
learned blacksmithing from his father. He visited Peoria Illinois in
the winter of 18302 to seek a new home and returned to
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
dealt in stock and merchandising5 before returning to DuPage
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
3J. A. Smith's Families of Amherst,
4History 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.
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.
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.
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
Tobais Atzel and Magdelena Hass, from Alsace, Bas Rhine, France. The
Atzel's had nine children born between 1842 and 1858.
RELOCATION OF MAIN STREET
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
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.
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
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.
1862 DuPage County Map - Downers Grove Library
1874 Atlas & History of DuPage County, Illinois
Main Street shown as dotted)