The history of the 1846 Blodgett House has been created by the people who lived there and by the events that took place. To understand its true historical significance we need to learn about the lives of the people and the events that took place as well as the history of the structure itself.  

In 1846 Israel and Avis Blodgett replaced the family's earlier log cabin with a frame house. The house was completed in 1849.  Now one of the oldest houses in the village, the 1846 Blodgett House, with rustic hand-hewn black walnut joists, and simple clapboard structure reflects early pioneer style, living space and craftsmanship.

Before the turn of the 20th century, the 1846 Blodgett House was moved to the south end of the Blodgett property, now known as 812 Randall Street. During the 20th century the house had been covered with aluminum siding that has now been removed.  In 2008 the 1846 Blodgett House was moved back to Maple Avenue on the Downers Grove Museum Campus and now its exterior has been restored to its 19th century appearance.

But what of the people who lived there?  Israel and Avis Blodgett were very early residents, moving to Downers Grove, in 1836. The Blodgett family played an important role in early Downers Grove history.  Israel Porter Blodgett, Sr. operated a blacksmith shop, and is credited with developing the self-scouring plow used to turn the Illinois prairie.  His 2nd son, Israel Porter, Jr., helped to construct a much-needed sawmill. The Blodgetts were also known to enjoy a close connection with native Americans in the region.

And what of the events that happened in the house? Perhaps the role of the house and the Blodgett family in the Underground Railroad is most significant. Several members of the Blodgett family were active in the abolitionist cause.  The 1846 Blodgett House itself is documented as an active stopover on the Underground Railroad that led from slavery to freedom.

We invite you to discover the history of the house, the Blodgetts and the events of the Underground Railway that make the 1846 Blodgett House a historical treasure to be recognized and preserved in Downers Grove.

Historical information about the Blodgett family comes from many sources. Here we give our best understanding of several, often-divergent accounts.



 

Site created, designed, and managed courtesy of Corridor Communications