Where Does the Money Go

The Downers Grove Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting and celebrating Downers Grove history. We are dependent solely on your dues and donations to complete our mission.  Here's a recap of our programs from 2018 which only came about due to your membership payments and community generosity:

Educational Program Series:  2018 was the first year our Historic Home Program Committee sponsored a series of events focused on one of Downers Grove's major assets…its neighborhoods of beautiful historic homes:

Founders Day 2018:  a multi-day event recognizing Captain Walter Blanchard (Civil War veteran) and celebrating many varied aspects of the lives of our early settlers.  This annual event is a collaboration of 9 different community organizations and not-for-profits which sponsor history related programs for the enjoyment of the whole community

Living Cemetery 2018: an annual event which brings together the talents of Herrick Middle School drama students and the Historical Society to depict the lives of early settlers buried in the historic Main St. Cemetery

Historical Society 50th Anniversary Party:  We received our 501(c)(3) charter in 1968 and over 80 guests helped us celebrate our 50th Anniversary.  We are thankful to all who participated, to the Niche Trio for their fabulous 60's & 70's live music, and to Alter Brewing Co. where the event was held.  Nearly all the party expenses were defrayed by a generous donation from the Grove Foundation, ticket and book sales, and by additional donations from generous members.    

Historian of the Year: This program recognizes individuals who have contributed time, talent, and treasure over many years in the support of Downers Grove history.  Click here for the news release describing the contributions of our 2018 recipient Joyce Tumea.

Heritage Site Program: This program recognizes a significant historic building or site in Downers Grove, providing the research for its history and sponsoring a bronze plaque for the location. The Penner Building at 5221 Main St. was recognized as the 2018 Historic Site. Click here to see the other sites on our web site.

Cemetery Stewardship: The Society partners with the Village of Downers Grove to maintain the cemetery, its monuments, and to document the histories of those who are buried there.  New information is constantly uncovered.  

Historic Home Program:  In 2018, 23 homes were designated as Historic Homes by the Society.  This program (formerly Centennial Homes) requires research on the home's history to be fully documented. Click here for more information on this program and the full list of Historic Homes

Main Street Cemetery "Web App":  A mobile web app which will allow visitors to the historic Downers Grove Main Street Cemetery to pull up biographies and photos of many of our early settlers and founders who are buried there is in development and will be released soon.  

Communications:  We have made infrastructure improvements to simplify membership management and improve communications to our members and the community at large.

Newsletters:  We sent out 4 newsletters to our membership letting them know what's happening at the Society and articles about Downers Grove history.

Website: Recent improvements include the addition of new video content on the main page of the site. Visit us at

Facebook: We have a growing presence with over 1500 followers on Facebook. The Facebook site focuses on upcoming events, interesting historical facts about Downers Grove and discussions about the history of Downers Grove. Click here and follow us. 

Recognition: Historical Society efforts to recognize Montrew Dunham for her contributions to preserving Downers Grove history were rewarded when the Park District agreed to name the Museum annex building "The Montrew Dunham History Center".  Montrew was co-author of our history book Downers Grove, 1832-1982, and author of Downers Grove Revisited.
The Downers Grove Historical Society is not affiliated with the Downers Grove Museum, which is operated by the Downers Grove Park District. The Museum is the protector of documents, photos, furnishings and memorabilia from Downers Grove's rich history. They run many educational programs for all ages and are open to the public for enjoyment and research needs.