The village of Downers Grove is located 22 miles west of Chicago, with convenient access to the city via train and most major expressways. This prime location has made Downers Grove an ideal place to live and work. Recognized as one of America’s Friendliest Towns by Forbes and one of the Top 10 Livable Cities for Kids by Livability.com, Downers Grove offers residents highly ranked schools and expansive amenities.
Downers Grove, located 21 miles West of the Loop, was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, a religious evangelist from 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. During the American Civil War, 119 soldiers from Downers Grove served in the Union Army; at least one of these was interred in the cemetery downtown. There was an abolitionist presence in the village, and some of the older homes are thought to have been stops on the Underground Railroad. However, there is no evidence to substantiate this claim. With the advent of the expressway system in the post–World War II era, the automobile accelerated Downers Grove's expansion, just as the railroad had done almost a century earlier. By 2000, the village of Downers Grove consisted of 13 square miles, with 48,724 residents. Its diverse economy included corporate headquarters, light industry, service, and retail businesses. The Tivoli Theatre, which was built in 1928, was the second theater in the nation constructed specifically for sound motion pictures.
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