kids encyclopedia robot

Downers Grove, Illinois facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Downers Grove
Village of Downers Grove
Main Street in downtown
Main Street in downtown
Location of Downers Grove in DuPage County, Illinois
Location of Downers Grove in DuPage County, Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
County DuPage
Townships Downers Grove, Lisle, York, Milton
Founded 1832
 • Type Council–manager
 • Total 14.80 sq mi (38.32 km2)
 • Land 14.65 sq mi (37.94 km2)
 • Water 0.15 sq mi (0.39 km2)
705 ft (215 m)
Highest elevation
741 ft (226 m)
 • Total 50,247
 • Density 3,430.53/sq mi (1,324.51/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
Area codes 630 and 331
FIPS code 17-20591
GNIS ID 2398745

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 religious evangelist from Wampsville, New York. Its other early settlers included the Blodgett, Curtiss, 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 1862, 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 its access to the rest of Chicago metropolitan area. Downers Grove has developed into a bustling Chicago suburb with many diverse businesses, including the headquarters for Devry University, FTD, Ambitech Engineering Corp, Dover, Heartland Food Corporation, and HAVI Global Solutions.


US-IL-Chicagoland-Downers Grove
Map of the village's boundaries within DuPage County

Downers Grove is located at 41°47′41″N 88°01′01″W / 41.7948036°N 88.0169400°W / 41.7948036; -88.0169400.

According to the 2010 census, Downers Grove has a total area of 14.457 square miles (37.44 km2), of which 14.31 square miles (37.06 km2) (or 98.98%) is land and 0.147 square miles (0.38 km2) (or 1.02%) is water. Only the DuPage County communities of Bartlett, Aurora, Naperville and Bolingbrook have larger land areas. Within the town are two forest preserves: Lyman Woods and Maple Grove Forest Preserve. A small creek runs through Maple Grove forest preserve. Downers Grove has been designated a Tree City USA 28 times by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Downers Grove borders the communities of Oak Brook, Westmont, Darien, Lombard, Woodridge and Lisle.


Downers Grove is in a humid continental climate zone. On average, January is the coldest month, and July is the warmest month. August typically has the most precipitation, and February the least. The record high for Downers Grove was 105 °F (41 °C) in July 2005, and the record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was set in January 1985.

Climate data for Downers Grove, Illinois
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 65
Average high °F (°C) 32
Average low °F (°C) 14
Record low °F (°C) −26
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.85


The main line of the BNSF Railway Line, the line is also used by Metra commuter rail. Metra's BNSF Railway Line has three stops in Downers Grove at Belmont Road, Main Street, and Fairview Avenue. Interstate Highways 355 and 88 pass through the community, as well as the major surface street US 34-Ogden Avenue. Downers Grove is served by the Pace Bus Service, a system of suburban public transportation.

The Grove Commuter Shuttle runs four routes throughout the community to two of the three train station that are in the village. The shuttle also operates for the RotaryGrove Fest from remote parking lots on the north and south sides of the village located at the respective north and south high schools.

Community events

Downers Grove is home to many unique boutique shops, dining establishments, and community events. Downtown Downers Grove has quickly become a shopping and dining destination due to its location and variety. The Tivoli Theatre and over 140 community events and festivals, which attract thousands of visitors each year, has helped to earn Downtown Downers Grove a spot on Chicago Tribune’s “Top 10 List of Downtowns.” of parks for recreational use are available with 450 recreational activities are available throughout the year. On Friday nights throughout the summer, antique and specialty cars park downtown in an informal car show. The Indian Boundary YMCA sponsors a Saturday morning farmer's market from June to October, and an ice sculpture festival is held in January.

The Downers Grove Park district offers multiple events throughout the year for individuals and families. These events include sport, community and recreational activities.

The high school sporting events and local band concerts draw large crowds, especially the annual football game between Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School, the annual competition between the Hinsdale Central High School and the Downers Grove North football teams for the Old Oaken Bucket, and the football game for the Cannon between Hinsdale South High School and Downers Grove South.


Downers Grove drinking water comes from Lake Michigan, via the DuPage Water Commission pipeline, which purchases the water from the City of Chicago Department of Water Management. Its electricity infrastructure is largely maintained by Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd); its natural gas infrastructure was built by Northern Illinois Gas.

Household waste pickup is contracted out by the village to Republic Services, as is yard waste pickup; these are paid for by either household-purchased stickers or rented carts. Curbside recycling is free.

Waste water is treated by the Downers Grove Sanitary District.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 586
1890 960 63.8%
1900 2,103 119.1%
1910 2,601 23.7%
1920 2,076 −20.2%
1930 2,923 40.8%
1940 9,526 225.9%
1950 10,886 14.3%
1960 18,154 66.8%
1970 28,544 57.2%
1980 36,572 28.1%
1990 46,858 28.1%
2000 48,724 4.0%
2010 47,833 −1.8%
2020 50,247 5.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

As of the 2010 census, there were 47,833 people living in the village. The population density was 3,420.2 people per square mile (1,320.2/km2). There were 20,478 housing units at an average density of 1,367.2 per square mile (527.7/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 88.5% White, 3.0% Black or African American, 0.2% American Indian and Alaska Native, 5.5% Asian, 0.6% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.2% of the population.

There were 1,979 households, out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.1% were married couples living together, and 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the village, the population was spread out, with 22.8% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64 and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

According to the 2010 American Community Survey, the median income for a household in the village was $84,269, and the median income for a family was $98,623. The mean income for a family was $108,798. Males had a median income of $63,553 versus $40,353 for females. The per capita income for the village was $43,579. About 1.7% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 18.2% of those age 65 or over.


Located 20 miles west of the Chicago Loop, Downers Grove residents commonly commute via the village's three Metra BNSF line stations or highway connections. The village itself also serves as headquarters for multiple businesses, including Advocate Aurora Health and Fortune 500 member Dover Corporation. The village is also home to regional satellite offices of numerous national corporations, including Microsoft, MetLife, and State Farm.

Downers Grove's retail economy is largely supported by the local section of Ogden Avenue. The stretch of Ogden Avenue through Chicago's western suburbs is particularly known for its automobile dealerships, classic car dealerships, and service centers. Ogden Avenue is also framed by a variety of grocery and convenience stores such as CVS, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Jewel, Trader Joe's, and Walgreens. Industrial and corporate parks may be found on Ogden's tributaries adjacent to major tollways such as I-355 or I-88.

Top employers

According to the Village's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital 2,500
2 GCA Services 1,500
3 University Subscription Services 1,050
4 Midwestern University 1,000
4 State Farm 1,000
5 Acxiom 800
5 Coventry Health Care 800
6 Adtalem Global Education 700
6 Ambitech Engineering Corp. 700
7 Invesco 600
8 FTD Inc. 500
9 Advocate Health Care 450
10 SAP America, Inc 425
11 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois 420
12 HAVI Global Solutions, LLC 400
13 Pepperidge Farm 375
14 JPMorgan Chase 300


Downers Grove is home to twelve public elementary schools, two public middle schools and two public high schools, Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School. Eleven of the elementary schools, including Hillcrest, Belle Aire, El Sierra, Kingsley, Fairmount, Highland, Whittier, Pierce Downer, Henry Puffer, Lester, and Indian Trail Schools and two of the middle schools-Herrick and O'Neill Middle School, are part of Downers Grove Grade School District 58. The other elementary schools, Prairieview and Elizabeth Ide and Lakeview Jr. High School, are part of Center Cass School District 66. Downers Grove has two Catholic Schools, St. Joseph's and St. Mary's of Gostyn, that enroll students from pre-school through 8th grade. The two high schools in Downers Grove, North and South, are part of Community High School District 99. They serve the entire community of Downers Grove, the majority of the village of Woodridge, and parts of Westmont, Darien, Lisle, Bolingbrook, Oak Brook and unincorporated Downers Grove and Lisle Townships.

Good Shepherd Lutheran School is a Christian Pre-K-8 school of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Downers Grove.

Downers Grove is home to the Avery Coonley School. Founded in 1906 and in its present location in Downers Grove since 1929, it is a private K-8 school, known for its math and science-oriented teaching as well as its focus on the arts and foreign language.

Downers Grove is also the home of Midwestern University, which trains osteopathic physicians and surgeons, physician assistants, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and dentists.

According to the American Community Survey 2010, Downers Grove has one of the nation's most educated citizenry, with 50.7% of individuals over the age of 25 holding bachelor's or advanced degrees; the national average is 27.9%.

Notable people

  • Muriel Anderson (b. 1960), composer and guitarist
  • Henry Williams Blodgett (1821-1905), United States federal judge and Illinois state representative
  • Bob Bryar (b. 1979), drummer for My Chemical Romance
  • Nick Burdi (b. 1993), baseball player
  • Greg Corner (b. 1974) bassist for Kill Hannah, co-host and musical director for JBTV
  • Andy Dunn (b. 1979), CEO of Bonobos Inc.
  • David Edwards (b. 1997) is a professional football player for the Los Angeles Rams.
  • Charles Draper Faulkner (1890-1979), architect
  • Collin Fernandez (b. 1997), professional soccer player
  • Lauren Frost (b. 1985), actress best known as Ruby Mendel in Disney Channel Original Series Even Stevens and Disney Channel Original Movie The Even Stevens Movie
  • Cammi Granato (b. 1971), Olympic ice hockey champion, inductee in Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Tony Granato (b. 1964), NHL player, head coach of Colorado Avalanche and University of Wisconsin
  • Kendall Gretsch, paralympian
  • Miles Harvey (b. 1960), journalist and author
  • F. Kenneth Iverson (1925–2002) CEO of Nucor Steel
  • Eric Jagielo (b. 1992), baseball player
  • Nancy Johnson (b. 1974), 2000 Summer Olympics gold medalist in the 10 metre air rifle
  • Matt Jones (b. 1983), professional hockey player formerly with the Phoenix Coyotes (NHL)
  • Dan LeFevour (b. 1987), professional quarterback for Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League
  • Fred Faulkner Lester (1926–1945), Hospital corpsman in the United States Navy and awardee of the Medal of Honor.
  • Eric Lichaj (b. 1988), professional soccer player, currently with Hull City and also a member of the US national team
  • Emil Martinec (b. 1958), string theorist
  • Thomas McCracken Jr. (born 1952), Illinois state legislator and lawyer
  • Jim McDermott (b. 1936), U.S. representative representing Washington's 7th congressional district since 1988
  • Sherrill Milnes (b. 1935), baritone, formerly with the Metropolitan Opera
  • Sandi Morris (b. 1992), pole vaulter, silver medalist at 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships
  • Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr. (b. 1944), lay minister and financial expert
  • Bryan Mullins (b. 1987), former basketball player and current Men's Basketball head coach at Southern Illinois University
  • Bill Novey (1948–1991), head of special effects at Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Emo Philips (b. 1956), comedian
  • Lanny Poffo (b. 1954), professional wrestler
  • "Shorty" Powers (1922–1979), NASA spokesman for Project Mercury
  • Joe Principe (b. 1974), bass guitarist for Rise Against
  • Denise Richards (b. 1971), actress and former model, The World Is Not Enough, Wild Things, Denise Richards: It's Complicated
  • John Ridgely (1909–1968), actor, The Big Sleep, Air Force, Destination Tokyo
  • Johnny Sain (1917-2006), baseball pitcher, 6-time World Series champion; died in Downers Grove
  • Randy Savage (1952-2011), Randall Mario Poffo, ring name "Macho Man", former professional wrestler and actor
  • Luther Ely Smith (1873–1951), founder of the Gateway Arch National Park
  • Barbara Stock (b. 1956), actress, Spenser: For Hire, Dallas
  • Joseph Tumpach (1912-1968), Illinois state representative and motel owner
  • Matthew West (b. 1977), contemporary Christian musician
  • Megan Callahan-Shah (b. 1985), 5-time Emmy Awards nominated writer for Saturday Night Live
kids search engine
Downers Grove, Illinois Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.