On a May evening in 1832, a solitary 50-year-old man on horseback rode toward an oak grove that rose majestically from the quiet Illinois prairie. Stopping at this beautiful site, the man bent a sapling to mark his claim to the rich Illinois farmland that would be his for the settling. In that singular act, Pierce Downer founded the town that would bear his name: Downers Grove, Illinois.
He could hardly have imagined the remarkable development of the bucolic prairie town, 22 miles west of Chicago, as it grew to a thriving suburb with a population of nearly 50,000. Many unique and influential people have shaped the history of Downers Grove.