Public Tours Inside
1846 Blodgett House

The first opportunity to visit inside the newly renovated 1846 Blodgett House was on Saturday December 14, 2019. The Merry and Bright event at the Downers Grove Museum this year featured public tours inside the pioneer home as described on the Park District's website.

Regular monthly tours are now being offered at the Blodgett's pioneer house. Please sign up for your tour in advance on the Park District's registration page.

Interior renovation work is now sufficiently complete to allow an occupancy permit to be issued for small-sized group tours.

Architects Kirsten Kingsley and Keith Ginnodo developed plans for the interior renovation that make it possible for visitors to appreciate unique construction features of this mid-19th Century home, as well as the Blodgett Family’s role in the Underground Railroad.

Conceptual plans for interior renovation of the 1846 Blodgett House are explained on the Project Plan page of this site.      

An engineering study showed that reinforcements for the floor supports were needed to ensure the safety of members of the public who visit the House. The required structural work was completed in March 2014 under a contract let by the Park District.

In June 2014 the Park District was notified that it received a state museum grant of $135,500 for help with interior restoration and interpretative exhibits. This grant was released in 2019 after  having been suspended for four years due to state budget problems.

In 2016, Lovejoy, Inc., a Timken brand, opened their world headquarters on Wisconsin Ave. and became a member of the Downers Grove community.

In October 2018 Park District received $50,000 from the Timken Foundation to support work on the 1846 Blodgett House.  This award was presented by Mat Happach of Lovejoy, Inc. 


Check out the Photo gallery
for Renovation Progress


The 1846 Blodgett House was built by Israel and Avis Blodgett. Not only does the house have architectural historical significance as the second or third oldest house in the Village, but it also has great cultural significance as an active stopover point on the Underground Railroad. The Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation has been founded with a mission to save and restore this historic house and create a museum focusing on the underground railroad. click here to learn more
 
1846 Blodgett House Overview

After the 1846 Blodgett House was restored to its mid-19th Century appearance the Downers Grove Park District accepted ownership of the House from the Heritage Preservation Corporation and terminated the District's lease agreement with the Corporation.

At the Park Board meeting on January 19, 2012,  President Charley Smart expressed gratitude to the Park District and the whole community for their great support.  He also presented our group's donation to the Park District of $5,000 to help with interior renovation efforts and spoke about our continuing volunteer involvement in this project. 

The Park District was advised in August 2012 of payment for a grant of $15,000 associated with costs in Phase 1 of the Blodgett House Renovation and other capital improvements. This grant from the Build Illinois Bond Fund was originally authorized in 2009.

A generous donation by the Illinois State Questers was matched with $2,000 in Park District funds thereby making possible the recent installation of three exterior signs for the 1846 Blodgett House. Two of these new displays are pictured below.  Next time you come to Wandschneider Park be sure to look for  this informative signage.

Israel & Avis BlodgettBlodgett Family




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 Updated January 28, 2020






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A Centennial Home

The 1846 Blodgett House was honored as a Centennial Home by the Downers Grove Historical Society on Founders Day 2014.

Centenial Home Plaqu6


Blodgett House Details

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