Proposal to Preserve the Edwards House
January 20th the Village Council discussed  the possible relocation of the historic Edwards House from 942 Maple to 743 Maple. There are currently ongoing negotiations between the Village, the developer and the owners of the relocation site, John and Lauri Tillotson, to produce a three party agreement about moving the Edwards HouseThe impact on parkway trees along Maple Avenue is an issue of particular concern for this proposed move, as is funding to move and/or replace parkway trees affected by the move. 

Please Donate to Help Save the Edwards House.
Pierce Downers Heritage Alliance (PDHA) has agreed to facilitate donations to support saving the Edwards House.  Contributions for this purpose can be made online using this button:

Contributions can also be made with a check made out to PDHA and mailed to PDHA, P.O. Box 422, Downers Grove, IL 60515, with a notation that the donation is to help save the Edwards House.  Donated funds will be held in an escrow account until the Edwards House has been successfully moved to its new location.  Funds donated to PDHA for this cause will be returned to the donors if the house cannot be preserved. 

Unless you tell us you wish to be anonymous your support will be acknowledged on the website. To request anonymity or for more information about supporting preservation of the Edwards House  please email or call 630-915-0956.  – Ken Lerner, PDHA Chairman

Read 3/5 Trib Local Article on plans to save the Edwards House.
Read 3/5 Suburban Life Article on preserving the Edwards House.
Click here to read the March 3rd meeting minutes.
Click here for the video of March 3rd Village Council meeting with John Tillotson's analysis of the financial aspects of preserving the Edwards House at the 26:40 point in this meeting. At 2 hours and 3 minutes into the meeting the Council members are commenting on the motion before them and then voting.
Read Village Council March 3rd agenda Item on Edwards House.
Read 2/26 Trib Local Article on fundraising for Edwards House.
Click here to read 2/13 Manager's Report on moving Edwards House.
Click here to read the February 17th meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at February 17th meeting.
Click here to read the February 10th meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at February 10th meeting.
Click here to read the February 3rd meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at February 3rd meeting.
Click here to read the January 20th meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at January 20th meeting.
Click here for additional follow-up information.

W. H. Edwards House
Now Located at 942 Maple Avenue

Edwards House

On December 16th, the Downers Grove Village Council approved the petition for special use on 942-936 Maple, paving the way for a condominium development on the current site of the Edwards house.  Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance opposed the petition, along with many others.  Click here to read Ken Lerner's comments to the Village Council on behalf of PDHA opposing this Special Use Permit.

More than 700 current and former Downers Grove residents signed a petition opposing the development.  We presented comments and expert testimony from Joe Abel, planning consultant and former DuPage County Director of Planning, and Doug Gilbert, architect and former head of the Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission.

Landmarks Illinois, the main statewide organization promoting historic preservation, also stated its support for preservation of the Edwards house and offered assistance to the village in finding ways to adaptively re-use it.  Click here to read Landmarks Illinois President McDonald's complete letter.

Many residents spoke to the Council, and the Plan Commission before that, about the importance of maintaining the integrity of historic Maple Avenue. However, the Council voted to approve the petition 5-2, with Commissioners Barnett, Durkin, Hosť, Neustadt, and Rheintgen supporting it, and Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully opposed.

Click here to watch the video recording of the December 16th meeting. The condominium redevelopment is considered beginning at 18 minutes & 55 seconds into the meeting. Summary comments by the Council members leading up to the final vote begin at about 1 hour & 50 minutes into this meeting that lasted nearly 2 hours & 30 minutes.
  What Next?

Assuming the condominium project moves forward – not a certainty, but likely – the remaining option to save the Edwards house is to move it.  The village has received a serious and well-developed proposal from a private party who owns property on Maple a few blocks away and wants to move the house.  There are some grounds for optimism that it will happen.  Other ideas have been floated too, such as moving the house to the Village-owned property at Main and Maple, currently a parking lot, to act as a gateway to the downtown area and host business-related uses.

Another possible outcome from this process is that the Village looks at the amending the zoning ordinance and Comprehensive Plan to clarify the intended uses for downtown areas and transition zones.  Several Commissioners commented on this topic during the meeting. The historic preservation ordinance may be looked at also.

PDHA will continue to monitor developments and post updates on this page.  And as provided in our mission, we will continue to advocate and assist in efforts to preserve our cultural and architectural heritage.

-- Ken Lerner

Historic Preservation & Zoning

January 20th, the Village Council discussed the proposed scope and recommended schedule for considering potential amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance.  February 3rd the Council (Click here for agenda.) continued its discussion and considered changes to the Ordinance recommended by the Village Staff.

After voting to approve the Special Use for a multi-family residence at 936-942 Maple Avenue, the Downers Grove Village Council directed its Staff to prepare for a Council discussion of potential amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and Historic Preservation Ordinance. The Staff drafted a recommended schedule for the Council's consideration of these potential changes through October 2015.
Click here to read about  the proposed scope & schedule.
Click here to read the January 20th meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at January 20th meeting.
Click here for the January 22nd Village Staff presentation to the Architectural Design Review Board about historic preservation.

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Heritage Alliance Mission

Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance is dedicated to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of Downers Grove. In the past, we have maintained sharp focus on the natural heritage within our community. Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance has been instrumental in the preservation and protection of Lyman Woods, and Belmont Prairie, which continue as on-going projects.

We are now also committed to the preservation of  cultural aspects of Downers Grove, including its rich architectural heritage. We work to accomplish our mission through education as well as community outreach.

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Can you find this house in Downers Grove and why is it important?
(Click the image for the answer)



Village Council Meeting
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
7:00 PM, Council Chamber
Village Hall
801 Burlington Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515

PDHA  Meeting
Thursday, April 9, 2015
7:00 PM, Room 102

Lincoln Center
935 Maple Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515

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Please consider a charitable donation
to support educational activities of
Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance.

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Click here to learn about beekeeping in Lyman Woods.

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The 1846 Blodgett House

An opportunity exists to restore the 1846 Blodgett House one of the Village's oldest houses reflecting our rich cultural heritage. PDHA supports such efforts to preserve valuable historic resources for future generations.
Click here to learn about the 1846 Blodgett House project.

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Click here to learn more about other local historic preservation activities in Downers Grove.

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Monthly Electronics Recycling Suspended In Downers Grove 
The Village of Downers Grove will no longer offer monthly electronics recycling because
DuPage County ended its contract for electronics recycling at local municipal locations.  The County's vendor, Creative Recycling, terminated its contract in July.

More information about current recycling services can be found on the Village's garbage and recycling page.

Last updated 3/22/2015