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Local News

Downers Grove Historical Society to recognize Penner Building

The Downers Grove Historical Society will honor the Penner Building on Main Street as its 2018 historic site during a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 20.
The Downers Grove Historical Society will honor the Penner Building on Main Street as its 2018 historic site during a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 20.

DOWNERS GROVE – The Downers Grove Historical Society will honor the Penner Building on Main Street as its 2018 historic site during a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 20.

The ceremony will include the dedication of a bronze plaque that describes the building's history.

The Penner Building, which was built in 1894, represents a part of the early history of Downers Grove. Conrad Penner was born in 1862 in Germany and came to America as a young man. He made his home on Maple Avenue, married and raised a family of five children, according to a news release.

Trained as a harness maker, he opened his first shop at Main and Curtiss streets to sell harnesses and items related to the needs of farmers in the area. He moved his shop to the Main Street location about 1920, adding his name to the top of the structure, the release stated.

Penner expanded his store goods to include Montford and Sterling tires. He also added a shoe repair service and sold work shoes and children’s shoes by Endicott-Johnson, advertising the shoes would “wear like iron," according to the release.

Penner operated his shop in Downers Grove for more than 30 years. He continued to live on Maple Avenue after his retirement from the store, and he was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery when he died in 1949, the release stated.

The shops inside the Penner Building have changed over the years, but his name still can be seen on top of the building, according to the release.

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