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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Wildflower Walk in Lyman Woods
Postponed to May 6th
Due to Wet Weather

This year PDHA’s Wilderness & Wildflower Walk at Lyman Woods is now scheduled on Saturday, May 6th at 1:00 PM.  Please click here to learn more and register for our walk this year.
Lyman Woods hosts a bouquet of spring activities for all ages, including workshops on wilderness skills, beekeeping, shelter building, and many more.  To see the activity calendar and sign up for events, visit LymanWoods.org.

Morton Arboretum has special events planned throughout the year, see www.mortonarb.org for details.  April activities include Arbor Day Celebration and Pop-Up Plant Clinic on Friday, April 28th.
Chicago Wilderness (
www.chicagowilderness.org) has granted awards for excellence in environmental restoration to several Chicago area preserves – click here to read about these sites and see some beautiful photos.  PDHA supports Chicago Wilderness with an annual donation.

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Benches in Lyman Woods to Honor
Four-Term Mayor Betty Cheever
Former Commissioner Wally Brown

Dedication of benches in the Lyman Woods Preserve to honor four-term Mayor of Downers Grove Betty Cheever, & Wally Brown, who served as first Village Commissioner, next County Board Member & then Forest Preserve Commissioner, is one way for us to recognize their lifetimes of service to our community. The Preserve owes much to their leadership.  Betty Cheever championed the original tripartite purchase of Lyman Woods from George Williams College in 1982.  Wally Brown led the campaign for DuPage Forest Preserve District funds to supplement Downers Grove Park District funds in order to purchase the heavily wooded site at the corner of Highland Avenue and 31st Street in 1996.  Wally also played a key role in achieving a million dollar State grant for the interpretive center.

Please click here to learn more about this project & how to make a tax-deductible donation to honor Betty Cheever and Wally Brown.

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Historic Preservation Activities

The Village's historic preservation program was revised in 2016, contributing to an increased interest in landmarking homeChilvers-Winter Houses and other historic structures. 

The Village Council unanimously approved landmark status for two buildings on March 21st.  Recognition of The Chilvers-Winter House, Fairview Train Station4849 Middaugh Avenue, had been proposed by its owners Patrick & Chris SextonFairview Train Station, which is owned by the Village, was also designated as a local historic landmark that evening.

The Village Co
uncil unanimously approved lan4437 Seeley Avenue Pierce Downer Housedmark status for The Pierce Downer House on February 14th. Please click here to read the information provided by the current owners, Arthur and Judith Frigo, about the historic significance of their home, which dates from the 1840's.

On November 15, 2016, the Village Council granted landmark status to two other historic homes. 
J. J. Cole House
James and Maren Huber landmarked The J. J. Cole House, 710 Maple Avenue and  John and Patricia Orwin landmarked The Venard House, 4540 Highland Avenue, exemplifying the American Foursquare style.
4540 Highland Avenue Venard House

Local architects Amy and
Dave Gassen discussed The History & Significance of the American Foursquare on September 26th.   Now you can read Amy and Dave's article about our local American Foursquare homes on  page 2 of PDHA's 2016 Fall Newsletter.
Foote House
On August 16th the Village Council unanimously approved landmark status for two historic homes. Fred and Cindy Zaeske have named their landmarked home at 1130 Franklin SKruger Housetreet, The House, while Chris and Patricia Patterson named their landmarked home at 4502 Prince Street, The Kruger HouseHerring House. 

On June 14th
the Village
Council unanimously approved landmark status for three hiFoster Housestoric buildings. Bo and Christine Martin have named their newly land- marked home at 701 Maple Avenue, The Herring House while Charlotte and Byron Holtzen named their landmarked home at 5226 Carpenter Street, The Foster House.

"The Village takes seriously its commitment to historic preservation," Main Street Station Mayor Martin Tully stated before the unanimous vote granting landmark status to the Village owned Main Street Train Station,  5001 Main Street.

A resolutGjerde Houseion granting historic landmark status for The Gjerde House, home of Irene Hogstrom and Mark Bragen, at 1232 Gilbert Avenue was unanimously approved by the Village Council on May 17th.
On February 17th, the ADRB had recommended landmark status for the 92-year-old Ehr House, home of Amy and David Gassen.  The Village Council considered Gassens' petition for landmark status on March 8th. You can click here to watch the discussion of this item, which started at 29 minutes into the meeting and continued for 24 minutes.  The resolution granting historic landmark status for the GasEhr Housesen's home at 5320 Benton Avenue was unanimously approved at the Council's March 22nd meeting.  The house is a prime example of the American Foursquare design, which style is well represented in Downers Grove.  More photos of the Gassen's home can be found here.
Several years earlier, in April 2009, Lea C. Wayne had successfully
Bunge Houseachieved landmark status for his home, The Bunge House, at 4943 Highland AvenueThe DrewDrew Home family home at 5256 Carpenter Street became the first building in Downers Grove to be granted landmark status In October 2008 at the request of Mildred Drew .

Please click here for background information about updating Downers Grove's Historic Preservation and Zoning Ordinances.

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



Last updated 4/27/2017 

 Village Council Meeting
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Meeting Agenda
7:00 pm, Council Chamber

Village Hall
801 Burlington Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515

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PDHA Meeting
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
7:00 pm, Room 307,
Lincoln Center,
935 Maple Avenue,
Downers Grove, IL 60515

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Click here to read our
2017 Spring Newsletter

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

Click here to request
more information about Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance.

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Click here to see
Ashley Wurth's slides
about Urban Coyotes
from our
2016 Annual Meeting.

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Click here to see Michael Lambert's slides on Historic Preservation in Geneva, IL
from our
2015 Annual Meeting.

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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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Downers Grove Township's Monthly Electronic Recycling
Is Continuing in 2017

AVA E-Recycling is continuing again this year its electronics recycling program in cooperation with Downers Grove Township Highway Department.

Audio or video cassettes, as well as CD’s, are no longer accepted and all TV’s need to have a prepaid coupon from AVA. Please click here to learn more about the rules for recycling TV's.

The next event is scheduled for March 18th, and runs from 8 AM to 12 PM at the Highway Garage, 318 Quincy Street, Westmont IL 60559. Other events will follow on the third Saturday of each month at the same time and location, unless that date falls on a holiday weekend.
As always the events close promptly at noon and electronics can only be dropped off on event dates. Drop offs outside of designated hours are not allowed.
For further information, please call Downers Grove Township Highway Department at (630) 719-6625.