Jenner & Block

Firm Honored for its Underground Railroad Home Preservation Effort

A Jenner & Block pro bono team was recently honored with a proclamation by Downers Grove Mayor Ronald L. Sandack for its efforts in helping preserve the Blodgett House in Downers Grove, Illinois, which was an active stopover point on the Underground Railroad and helped a number of slaves find their way to freedom. According to the proclamation, "the years leading up to the American Civil War, the Blodgett House was the home of local pioneer family Israel and Avis Blodgett and a well-documented station on the Underground Railroad -- the route leading from slavery to freedom."

Partners Barbara M. Flom, Ronald B. Grais and Michelle M. McAtee, Associate Kris Tina Carlston and former associate Jose R. Rivera provided pro bono legal advice to the Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation, a non-profit formed to preserve the Blodgett House, which was built in 1846 and remains one of the oldest houses in the village. The house is being moved to a site within a public park, and the organization plans to convert the space into a cultural, educational and historic museum focusing on the home’s role in the Underground Railroad. The Firm’s team helped form and tax-qualify the organization, secured the donation of the house, and arranged for its transfer to public land.

"It's a wonderful project that shows the range of assistance we can give to nonprofit organizations in a transactional setting," said Ms. Flom. "It has been a pleasure to work with the Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation on restoring the Blodgett House and we look forward to continued involvement with the organization."

Please click here for more information on the Blodgett House.