The W. H. Edwards House Is Demolished!

The Edwards House was demolished on Saturday, June 6th.

    Down with the old

"After much effort and so much community support, it is a sad and frustrating outcome," Ken Lerner, PDHA Chairman, commented. "We thank the Tillotson/Wast family for their valiant efforts at saving the house. Their message on the PDHA website mentions some of the many people who were involved in the effort to save the house over the last year. Tom Nybo in particular was a consistent spark and driving force, while Mike Behm contributed vital business planning expertise."  Click here to read the rest of Ken Lerner's message.

On May 8th Ken Lerner wrote to ask people who had contributed
to help preserve the Edwards House what they now want done with their contributions.  Click here to read Ken's letter.  All told, 45 people had donated $6,465.   As of June 9th, only 6 donors had not yet responded so that only $275 still remained to be refunded or distributed to some other charity.  Click here to see the disposition of the Edwards House contributions.

The heritage Oak at 942 Maple Avenue had been cut down on Thursday, May 21st.

Goodbye Noble Oak

Adieu, noble Oak!

Postings on the Facebook page of Friends of the Edwards House provide a forum for
community members to share comments about this unfortunate outcome of our efforts to preserve the historic Edwards House and their thoughts about how we can move forward.

Edwards House

W. H. Edwards House As It Used to Look

Edwards House Background Information

On Monday, April 27th, Carlson Construction applied for demolition permits for 936 & 942 Maple Avenue. 942 Maple Avenue was the address of the W. H. Edwards House. Demolition permits were issued on Friday, June 5th, somewhat later than expected Village officials are now monitoring the sites to ensure compliance with their rules for management of demolition sites.

On Sunday, April 26th, John Tillotson & Lauri Wast informed people supporting preservation of the Edwards House that, with deep sorrow, they are discontinuing their efforts to save and acquire the Edwards House. Thank you, John & Lauri, for all your outstanding work trying to find a way to preserve this historic house.   Click here to read their complete message.

On Wednesday, April 22nd, the Downers Grove Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved the height variation needed in order for the existing residence at 743 Maple Avenue to be moved to the rear of that property and used as a garage or carriage house.  Moving this existing building could have provided a site to which the Edwards House might have been moved. But the timing for moving the Edwards House became a serious problem.   The Tillotson-Wast family currently plans to construct  a new residence at 743 Maple Avenue in the same style as the building that they are moving to the rear of their property.

On December 16th, the Downers Grove Village Council approved the petition for special use on 942-936 Maple, paving the way for a condominium development on the current site of the Edwards house.  Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance opposed the petition, along with many others.  Click here to read Ken Lerner's comments to the Village Council on behalf of PDHA opposing this Special Use Permit.

More than 700 current and former Downers Grove residents signed a petition opposing the development.  We presented comments and expert testimony from Joe Abel, planning consultant and former DuPage County Director of Planning, and Doug Gilbert, architect and former head of the Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission.

Landmarks Illinois, the main statewide organization promoting historic preservation, also stated its support for preservation of the Edwards House and offered assistance to the village in finding ways to adaptively re-use it.  Click here to read Landmarks Illinois President McDonald's complete letter.

Many residents spoke to the Council, and the Plan Commission before that, about the importance of maintaining the integrity of historic Maple Avenue. However, the Council voted to approve the petition 5-2, with Commissioners Barnett, Durkin, Hosť, Neustadt, and Rheintgen supporting it, and Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully opposed.

Click here to watch the video recording of the December 16th meeting. The condominium redevelopment is considered beginning at 18 minutes & 55 seconds into the meeting. Summary comments by the Council members leading up to the final vote begin at about 1 hour & 50 minutes into this meeting that lasted nearly 2 hours & 30 minutes.

Historic Preservation & Zoning

January 20th, the Village Council discussed the proposed scope and recommended schedule for considering potential amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance.  February 3rd the Council (Click here for agenda.) continued its discussion and considered changes to the Ordinance recommended by the Village Staff.

After voting to approve the Special Use for a multi-family residence at 936-942 Maple Avenue, the Downers Grove Village Council directed its Staff to prepare for a Council discussion of potential amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and Historic Preservation Ordinance. The Staff drafted a recommended schedule for the Council's consideration of these potential changes through October 2015.
Click here to read about  the proposed scope & schedule.
Click here to read the January 20th meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at January 20th meeting.
Click here for the January 22nd Village Staff presentation to the Architectural Design Review Board about historic preservation.

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Heritage Alliance Mission

Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance is dedicated to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of Downers Grove. In the past, we have maintained sharp focus on the natural heritage within our community. Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance has been instrumental in the preservation and protection of Lyman Woods, and Belmont Prairie, which continue as on-going projects.

We are now also committed to the preservation of  cultural aspects of Downers Grove, including its rich architectural heritage. We work to accomplish our mission through education as well as community outreach.

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Can you find this house in Downers Grove and why is it important?
(Click the image for the answer)



 Village Council Meeting
Click Here for Agenda
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
7:00 PM, Council Chamber
Village Hall
801 Burlington Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515

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PDHA  Meeting
Thursday, July 9, 2015

7:00 PM, Room 307
Lincoln Center
935 Maple Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515

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Highway Cleanup
  Next Highland Avenue

Saturday, August 15, 2015
8:30 to 11:00 AM

Please click here to fill out
the required Waiver Form.
Meet at 33rd Street
Lyman Woods Parking Lot.

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Please consider a charitable donation
to support educational activities of
Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance.

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  2014 Annual Meeting

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Click here to learn about beekeeping in Lyman Woods.

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The 1846 Blodgett House

An opportunity exists to restore the 1846 Blodgett House one of the Village's oldest houses reflecting our rich cultural heritage. PDHA supports such efforts to preserve valuable historic resources for future generations.
Click here to learn about the 1846 Blodgett House project.

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Click here to learn more about other local historic preservation activities in Downers Grove.

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Downers Grove Township Monthly Electronics Recycling  
On the third Saturday of every month from 8am to 12pm, (except holiday weekends) electronics may be dropped off at the highway garage, 318 East Quincy Street, Westmont, Illinois 60559.

For further information, please call Downers Grove Township Highway Department at (630) 719-6625.

Information about current the Downers Grove village recycling services can be found on the Village's garbage and recycling page.

Last updated 6/18/2015