Background Information and Media Reports
About Redevelopment of 936/942 Maple Avenue
and the Fate of the Edwards House
The W. H. Edwards House Is Gone.The Edwards House was demolished on Saturday, June 6, 2015.
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 July 5, 2015, all funds held in the Edwards House Escrow account had been refunded or distributed to some other charity. Click here to see the disposition of the Edwards House contributions.
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.
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.
Read the following five newspaper articles about demolition and redevelopment of 936/942 Maple Avenue, Downers Grove, June 9th TribLocal, June 8th TribLocal, June 8th Suburban Life, June 6th Suburban Life, and June 2nd TribLocal.
Read the following four newspaper articles about the review and approval of demolition permits:
May 11th Suburban Life, May 9th TribLocal, May 8th Suburban Life and May 1st TribLocal.
Read 4/27 Suburban Life Article about Tillotson's decision to give up plans to move the house.
Read 4/23 Suburban Life Article about problem with May 15 deadline for moving the house.
Read 3/5 Trib Local Article on plans to save the Edwards House.
Read 3/5 Suburban Life Article on preserving the Edwards House.
Click here to read the March 3rd meeting minutes.
Click here for the video of March 3rd Village Council meeting with John Tillotson's analysis of the financial aspects of preserving the Edwards House at the 26:40 point in this meeting. At 2 hours and 3 minutes into the meeting the Council members are commenting on the motion before them and then voting.
Read Village Council March 3rd agenda Item on Edwards House.
Read 2/26 Trib Local Article on fundraising for Edwards House.
Click here to read 2/13 Manager's Report on moving Edwards House.
Click here to read the February 17th meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at February 17th meeting.
Click here to read the February 10th meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at February 10th meeting.
Click here to read the February 3rd meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at February 3rd meeting.
Click here to read the January 20th meeting minutes.
Click here for video of discussions at January 20th meeting.
Click here to read the 12/16/2014 Council agenda information packet.
Click here to read minutes of the December 9th Village Council meeting.
Click here to watch the video recording of the December 9th meeting. The condominium redevelopment is discussed beginning at 27 minutes into the meeting. Requests for additional data and summary comments by the Council members begin at about 2 hours and 53 minutes into this more than 3 hour long meeting.Click here to read the 12/9/2014 Council agenda information packet.
Click here to read the 11/18/2014 Council agenda information packet.
Click here to watch the video recording of the November 18th meeting. The condominium redevelopment is discussed beginning at 26 minutes and 12 seconds into the meeting. Requests for additional information and comments by Council members begin at about 2 hours and 31 minutes into this more than 4 hour long meeting.
Many residents and several experts testified in opposition to the proposed redevelopment of the Edwards House property at the November 3rd Plan Commission meeting. Nevertheless, the Commission unanimously recommended approval of the Special Use Permit for this project.
Click here to read minutes of the November 3rd Plan Commission meeting.
Neighborhood meetings to discuss a proposed Maple Avenue Historic District were held in Lincoln Center on Tuesday, September 30 & Wednesday, October 8.
Here is a link to the Change.org Petition, signed by more than 700 supporters of historic Maple Avenue.
Here is a link to the "Help save 942 Maple in Downers Grove" Facebook page.
Click here for additional information at the DownersGroveVoice website
See articles in the Suburban Life: December 17 & November 24 and in the Chicago Tribune: February 16, December 17, December 15, December 7 & November 26 for more reports.