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
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
village, the 1846 Blodgett House, with rustic hand-hewn black walnut
joists, and simple clapboard structure reflects early pioneer style,
living space and craftsmanship.
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
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
information about the Blodgett family comes from many sources. Here we
give our best understanding of several, often-divergent accounts.
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