Our school's name has a strong link to the people and events of the past when Plainfield was called Walker's Grove. When James Walker established his sawmill on the banks of the DuPage River, the nearby land became known as Walker's Grove. The settlement began around 1830 when James Walker built his log cabin home and sawmill. Other settlers came from New England and New York adding to the population of the small community.
The lumber sawed at the mill was taken to the growing town of Chicago by oxen teams to construct frame buildings near LaSalle Street. In addition to sawing lumber, the Walker Mill ground the first grain grown in the new community. The mill was damaged during a raging flood in 1838 and was never rebuilt. About 100 years later, exposed foundation timbers from the original mill were discovered in the bed of the river. We are honored to have one of these original timbers on display in the foyer of our school.
In 1833, James Walker became the postmaster of Walker's Grove. He was instrumental in the decision to create Will County and eventually represented the county in the state legislature. It can be said that James Walker was the founding father of Plainfield. In 1834, an official plat of the village at Walker's Grove was made and the town was renamed Plainfield. In 1992, the Board of Education chose the name Walker's Grove Elementary School to honor the memory and contributions of Mr. James Walker and to commemorate the early beginnings of the town known as Plainfield