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.

* * * * *

Historic Preservation Activities

Recent changes to the Village historic preservation program have revived interest in landmarking homes and other historic structures.

A resolution granting historic landmark status for the home of Irene Hogstrom and Mark Bragen at 1232 Gilbert Avenue was unamimously approved by the Village Council on May 17th.
The May 18th agenda of the Architectural Design Review Board (ADRB) includes a public hearing for another private home at 5226 Carpenter StreetApprovals of landmark status for the Main Street Train Station and for the private home at 701 Maple Avenue are to be considered at the June 14th Village Council meeting. 

On February 17th, the ADRB recommended landmark status for the 92-year-old home of Amy and David Gassen.  The Village Council considered Gassen's 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 Gassen's home at 5320 Benton Avenue was unanimously approved at the Council's March 22nd meeting.

Gassen House

The house is a prime example of the American Foursquare design, which is well represented in Downers Grove.

As noted in their landmarking application, “American Foursquares were a post-Victorian house type and an architectural reaction against the ornateness and complexity found in Victorian buildings. The cube-shaped massing of American Foursquares was designed to maximize square footage on small lots. Additional common characteristics of American Foursquares include a square floor plan, a central dormer in the attic, a front porch (usually, but not always, spanning across the entire front facade), a hip roof, and wide eaves.”
We thank the Gassens for opting to preserve their home and congratulate them on their well-researched application and presentation to the ADRB. (It probably didn’t hurt that they’re both architects.) We are pleased that the Council voted unanimously to make their home the 3rd landmarked buildng in Downers Grove.  We now look forward to many more applications coming in.  - Ken Lerner

Photos of the home can be found here.

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

* * * * *

Plan Your Spring Calendar

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.

This year a full program of Founders Day activities celebrating the history and heritage of Downers Grove spaned two weekends.  The Downers Grove Historical Society's poster lists the various events.
Morton Arboretum has special events planned throughout the year, see www.mortonarb.org for details. 

Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance cooperated again this year with the Downers Grove Park District to celebrate Arbor Day on Friday, April 29, 2016.   Park District Forester Mike Stelter led the tree-planting again this year for Arbor Day at Patriots Park at 12:45 PM.  Two trees were planted, a white oak and a chinquapin oak.  PDHA is making a donation to the Park District to offset the cost of one of the trees.

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.

* * * * *

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



Last updated 5/18/2016 

Village Council Meeting
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Meeting Agenda
7:00 PM, Council Chamber

Village Hall
801 Burlington Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515

* * * * *

PDHA  Meeting
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
7:00 PM, Room 307
Lincoln Center
935 Maple Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515

* * * * *

Click here to read our
2016 Spring Newsletter

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Click here to read about our
2015 Annual Meeting

* * * * *

Click here to learn about beekeeping in Lyman Woods.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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


* * * * *
Downers Grove Township Monthly Electronic Recycling

AVA E-Recycling is resuming an electronic recycling program in cooperation with Downers Grove Township Highway Department.

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

The first event is scheduled for March 19th, 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.