Downers Grove is one of the first communities in northeastern Illinois to initiate a self-sustaining commuter bus service. After the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad came to the city in 1864, Samuel Curtiss founded the first subdivisions in what became the Central Business District of the Southeast Side. He then claimed the land on Blodgetts homestead, which is now the village's business district. To facilitate the arrival and departure, he hung six yokes of oxen on heavy tree trunks to level and widen his land to intercept the way to the Chicago Naper Settlement.
He was buried when St. Joseph Creek was flooded by spring rain, which made downtown inaccessible from the north, and his body was buried in the creek.
Since the founding of the local park district in the early 1950s, things have changed in Downers Grove. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the district's holdings included 350 hectares and twenty-five plots, and its achievements included the construction of a public library, library and school for children, as well as the creation of the first public park in the city.
The first commuter train ran in 1869, and by 1895 25 trains were running daily between Chicago and Downers Grove. Grain and other products were the most important goods transported to Chicago at first, but the automobile accelerated the expansion of Downer Grove, as the railroad had done nearly a century earlier.
The first foundation stone for the village was laid with the arrival of the railway and to the north of it the main road (then Union Street) was opened. Its proximity to the Chicago and Illinois railroads and its connection to Chicago made it home to Sears, Roebuck & Co., which sold mail-order stores from 1908 to 1940. Downer Grove, known as "88" since 1958, was made easier by the construction of a new town hall, the Downers Grove Public Library, in the early 1950s. In 2018, the total population in Downes Grove and the city of Chicago is 382,500, with a population of about 1,000 people.
The village is bordered to the east by the Chicago River, to the west by Lake Michigan and to the north by Union Street. The village now has two public schools, Downes Grove High School and Downers Grove Community College. Enrollment peaked in the early 1990s, when about 1,000 students were enrolled, according to the Illinois Department of Education.
The village has been important since the time when the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was built through the village in 1864. The railroad, now called Burlington Northern, was as important to the community as it was in the 1980s after a merger in 1970. In the 1930s, it stretched from Aurora to Chicago and then to Downers Grove, increasing the population.
West of the village, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, now Burlington Northern Railway, was opened in 1893, and in 1894 the Illinois State Railway.
Downers Grove is home to Avery-Coonley School, a private K-8 school known for its science-oriented teaching, founded in 1906. It is one of the oldest public schools in the state of Illinois and the second oldest in Illinois. The 287-bed facility, which is owned and operated by the Evangelical Hospital Association, brings a holistic approach to medical care in the surrounding areas. Downer's Grove was also home to Midwestern University, which educated many of its medical students, as well as the University of Chicago Medical School.
Downers Grove is home to the University of Chicago School of Public Health, the largest medical school in Illinois. Downer's Grove has a population of more than 2,000 students, about 1,500 of whom are enrolled in the K-12 school system. It serves as a carryout zone and pizza delivery for restaurants and was home to the Special Victims Unit of the Chicago Police and Cook County Sheriff's Department. Illinois State Police and the Chicago Fire Department are based at Grove and serve as active U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Chicago.
Ogden, a colloquial abbreviation of the street name, is also framed by the City of Chicago and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police.
The Metra BNSF rail line has two stations at Downers Grove, one on Main Street and the other at the intersection of Main and Ogden Streets. Downer's Grove is the end of the line for about half of the commuter trains served by a single station, and it is the busiest commuter stop on the line since it was founded in 1884. Main Street Station was in operation until recently, when Naperville moved to the top of the new station - the Chicago-St. Louis line.
Downer's Grove was surrounded by productive farms after World War II, and a shopping mall was built in the 1970s. Carpenter divided his land, resulting in a large number of houses and some small shops in Downers Grove. Downer built a prime grove surrounded by prairie and turned it into a successful dairy farm. In recent decades, the number and size of residential and commercial buildings on the west side of the grove have increased considerably. A large multi-story residential and commercial building was built, as well as a growing number of condominiums, hotels, restaurants and retail stores.