is a village in Downers Grove Township, DuPage County, Illinois, located west of Chicago. The population was 48,724 at the 2000 United States Census. The United States Census Bureau estimated the population in 2007 to be 48,995.
Downers Grove 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.
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, a Burlington Railroad Nebraska Zephyr passenger train wreck killed two people, including the engineer. The eastbound streamliner struck a large piece of farm equipment which had become loosened from its flat car, and was protruding onto the adjoining track from a westbound freight. Part of the train 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 Rossi, FTD, The Travelers Companies, Lovejoy, ServiceMaster, Sara Lee, Swift-Eckrich, Arrow Gear, Magnetrol, Spiegel and Butterball.