Downers Grove is a village in DuPage County, Illinois, United States. It was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, whose surname serves as the eponym for the village. It is a southwestern suburb of Chicago in the I-55 Corridor. Downers Grove was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, a farmer who traveled to Illinois from Rutland, New York, but was originally from Vermont. Its other early settlers included the Blodgett, Curtiss, Blanchard, Stanley, Lyman, and Carpenter families. The original settlers were mostly migrants from the Northeastern United States and Northern Europe. The first schoolhouse was built in 1844. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was extended from Aurora to Chicago through Downers Grove in 1864, boosting its population.
The town was incorporated in March 1873. Its somewhat unusual spelling (“Apostrophe-free since 1873”) remains a minor historical mystery. In April 1947, the wreck of a Burlington Railroad Twin Cities Zephyr passenger train killed three people, including the engineer. The streamliner struck a large tractor which had fallen from a freight train and two passenger cars crashed through a wall of the Main Street Station. The construction of two major toll roads along the village’s northern and western boundaries, I-355 in 1989, and what is now referred to as I-88 in 1958, facilitated the village’s access to the rest of Chicago metropolitan area.
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