Planning for Walnut Park
Adjacent to Belmont Prairie Buffer

Belmont Prairie MapThe Downers Grove Park District is developing a long-term master plan for its Walnut Park property. Walnut Park is a 19.6-acre parcel of land on Walnut Avenue adjacent to the Belmont Prairie Buffer in the northwest corner of Downers Grove, just south of Ogden Avenue.

The Park District conducted an online Community Survey to obtain public input and has posted a summary of responses.

Members of the Heritage Alliance participated in the survey and are encouraged by the following Park District statement in a WALNUT PARK PROPERTY Q & A:

5. How will the possible development of the Walnut Park property impact the existing Belmont Prairie Nature Preserve and connected prairie buffer?
Natural area preservation is at the heart of the District's mission. The Park District will continue to preserve and protect the Belmont Prairie and prairie buffer. Any possible development of the Walnut Park property would carefully avoid any potential hydrological, ecological or other adverse impacts on the prairie and buffer. Protecting the buffer zone is required and any development on it must be approved by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

The development of the Walnut Park property could help the District to improve the health and accessibility of the buffer and prairie, assist with raising awareness and provide ways to educate visitors about this treasured natural area in our community. 

PDHA Chair Ken Lerner wrote to explain the organization's thinking about planning for Walnut Park. Ken's letter emphasizes PDHA's advocacy for protection of the Belmont Prairie, a dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve, and its dedicated Buffer. The letter begins as follows:

"Pierce Downer’s Heritage Alliance appreciates the Park District’s commitment to seeking public input as part of long-term planning for this property.

"We have a few recommendations as detailed below. The unifying theme is that in developing plans for its Walnut Ave. holdings, the Park District balance active and passive recreation priorities.

"Since the Walnut Park area is adjacent to the Belmont Prairie Buffer, planning and any eventual construction should be conducted with that in mind, to avoid any hydrological or other adverse impact on the buffer and prairie."

To read the letter from Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance in full please click here.

* * * * *
COVID-19 and the Great Outdoors

A visit to a local park or forest preserve can be a nice break during the COVID-19 emergency. A brisk walk or run can be a good way to get your steps in. Local outdoor recreation areas are generally open for hiking, walking and running, with some exceptions.

Downers Grove Park District ––
The Park District has announced TIER 3 MITIGATION MEASURES beginning Friday, November 20.
  Information and updates at

DuPage County Forest Preserves ––
The preserves are open including parking lots, trails, and off-leash dog areas. Buildings and restrooms are closed. At some facilities, the buildings are closed but grounds and surrounding areas are open: Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, Mayslake Peabody Estate, and St. James Farm.
  Information and updates at

* * * * *
1846 Blodgett House

Public tours inside the 1846 Blodgett House started on Saturday, December 14, during last year's Merry and Bright celebration at the Downers Grove Museum, 831 Maple Avenue.

1846 Blodgget HouseThanks to community-wide support the 1846 Pioneer Blodgett House has come a long way during the past decade, well beyond its initial journey from Randall Street onto the Park District's Museum Campus. Substantial progress toward completion of the building's interior has been achieved in 2019 as a result of two major grants. The house now looks really great as described on the Park District's website!

Come see the 1846 Blodgett House before long. Starting February 20, 2021
tours are again being offered on the third Saturday of the month. The tours had been suspended since mid-2020.  Please consult the Park District's registration page for information about 1846 Blodgett House tours and other interesting activities.

* * * * *
Historic Preservation Activities

The Village's historic preservation program was revised in 2015, contributing to an increased interest in landmarking homes and other structures. Since then twenty-six historic features have been granted local landmark status in Downers Grove –– nine structures in 2016, another nine in 2017, four more in 2018 and four historic features in 2019.

The Village Council unanimously approved land5329 Meadow Lanemark status on December 10, 2019 for the John and Doris Mochel House, 5329 Meadow Lane at the request of Louise and Peter Trucano. Please click here to learn about this Mid-Century Modern home that was built in 1964.
Robert J. Darnley House
The Village Council unanimously approved landmark status on July 9th for the Robert J. Darnley House, 4721 Highland Avenue, at the request of Ted and Andrea Anderson. Please click here to learn about this Craftsman Cottage home that was built circa 1904.

On April 16th landmark status for the Village owned Main Street Cemetery, 5158 Main Street, was unanimously approved by the
Main Street Cemetery Village Council following a request by the Downers Grove Historical Society.  Learn about this source of civic pride and identity that was established in 1856 by clicking here.

The Village Council unanimously approved landmark status on February 5, 2019 for the H. M. Patton House, 5 Jacqueline Drive, at the request of Judith M. Erickson.
H M Patton House  Please click here to learn about this English Country Revival home that was built circa 1927.

Please click here to read about the presentation to Friends Of The Edwards House of the 2017 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Advocacy.

Please click here for a complete listing of the 28 historic features that have been granted local landmark status in Downers Grove.

* * * * *
Betty Cheever & Wally Brown Honored

Many organizations and individuals joined forces to honor Betty M. Cheever (1928 - 2021) and Wallace H. (Wally) Brown (1928 - 2019) with tribute benches in Lyman Woods Preserve. A celebration of Betty Cheever's and Wally Brown's community leadership took place on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at the Lyman Woods Interpretative Center.  Please click here to learn more about this event and the tribute benches honoring Betty Cheever and Wally Brown.

* * * * *
Heritage Alliance Mission Statement

Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance is committed to sound and sustainable environmental practices; protection and appreciation of our community's outstanding natural features, such as Lyman Woods and Belmont Prairie; and preservation of significant cultural traditions, including the rich architectural heritage of Downers Grove.

The Alliance works to promote appreciation, protection and enhancement of our community's natural and cultural heritage through education, advocacy, stewardship and community outreach.

Last updated 3/4/2021

Village Council Meeting

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Meeting Agenda
7:00 PM, Council Chambers
Village Hall
Downers Grove, IL 60515

* * * * *
PDHA Virtual Meeting
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Remote Participation Only

* * * * *
Absent Friends

Jane Amorosi 1923-2021

 Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance nJane Amorosiotes with regret the passing of one of our founding directors, Jane Amorosi. Jane was always a strong advocate for preservation of open space. We are grateful to Jane for her role in safeguarding Lyman Woods as a publicly-owned Forest Preserve, a beautiful and high-quality natural area in Downers Grove.  The Lyman Woods Preserve today serves as a recreational and nature-education destination for the entire region.  Please click here to read Jane's obituary.

We also gratefully remember several other past champions of our community's natural heritage.

Betty Cheever 1928-2021
Nan Newlon 1959-2021
John Banaszak 1941-2020
Wally Brown 1928-2019
Al Rouffa 1919-2017
Bill Runyon 1929-2009
Rita Martin 1927-2007

* * * * *
Click here to read our
2020 Fall Newsletter

* * * * *
Click here to read our
2020 Spring Newsletter
* * * * *
Please consider
a charitable donation
to support
educational activities of
Pierce Downer's
Heritage Alliance.

* * * * *

1846 Blodgett House

The 1846 Blodgett House is one
of the Village's oldest houses, reflecting our rich cultural heritage. PDHA supports
preservation of such
valuable historic resources
for future generations.
Click here to learn about the
1846 Blodgett House project.