Looking Up in Downers Grove From Whistle Stop to Corporate Hub

Founded by a religious evangelist, Downers Grove is a village in Southern DuPage County, Illinois, and is the birthplace of composer and guitarist Muriel Anderson, Olympic ice hockey champions Cammi and Tony Granato, and actress and former model Denise Richards. 

The village, which has a population of around 48,867, is located 22 miles west of Chicago. Convenient access to Chicago via rail and several major expressways make Downers Grove a prime location to live, work and do business. The Downers Grove of today has developed from a sleepy village into a bustling Chicago suburb with many diverse businesses including Advocate Health Care, Dover Corporation, Pepperidge Farm, DeVry, Inc. and Sanford, maker of Sharpie and Paper Mate. 

According to its economic and community profile, highly ranked schools were a top factor in Downers Grove being named one of the Top 10 Livable Cities for kids by Livability.com. Downers Grove has also been recognized by Forbes as one of America's Friendliest Towns. In fact, it is the 8th friendliest town in the entire United States. Downers Grove was the only community in Illinois to be recognized in the survey.  In the Livability.com survey, Downers Grove finished second only to Boise, Idaho. 

Downers Grove borders the communities of Oak Brook, Westmont, Darien, Lombard, Woodridge and Lisle. In the heart of the I-355 and I-88 corridors, O’Hare and Midway Airports are just 30 minutes away, and three Metra stations serve the community.

Early History

Downers Grove was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, who was a religious evangelist from Wampsville, New York. Early settlers in the community included the Blodgett, Curtiss, and Carpenter families. These original settlers were mostly migrants from the Northeastern United States and Northern Europe. They constructed the community’s first schoolhouse in 1844. 

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