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Local News

Owner of Bunge Mansion puts landmark up for sale

DOWNERS GROVE – Standing in the third floor of Gustav Bunge's former home, it's not hard to imagine the historic Downers Grove figure looking out the window to see his Tivoli Theatre rise one brick at a time.

The window still provides a view of the back of the landmark theatre built by Bunge and his son, George, in 1928. Longtime owner Lea Wayne bought the property in 1991 and has restored the home to its original luster.

She put the five-bedroom "Bunge Mansion," 4943 Highland Ave., on the market this month at $985,000.

Under the tall, cathedral ceiling of the third floor library sits a row of theatre seats originally from the Tivoli, lined in front of a large flatscreen TV. And across the room, sit three early 20th century bottles – found in the walls during restoration – on display. The third floor also features a bedroom and full bathroom.

Throughout the home, ornate oak woodwork has been stripped down to its original hue, and the home is accented by period details like a three-dimensional stained glass window, a marble tile fireplace. Even the radiators are decorative. Bedroom doors on the second floor are topped by transom windows equipped with a unique copper lever for easy opening and closing.

The home is large at more than 4,000 square feet, though perhaps not gigantic in comparison to today's definition of a mansion.

Despite its size and three stories, the Bunge family actually moved the house from its original location to its current address in 1928 to make way for the theatre.

"When we moved the Blodgett house, and we only moved it 100 feet, and it was quite the [ordeal], and we had modern machines and equipment," realtor Elena Falco said. "A house of this size, I have no idea how they moved it."

The home, built in the 1880s, would eventually go through many transitions, functioning as a boarding house during the great depression, and then eventually falling into disrepair until Wayne became owner, according to Falco.

"She refurbished everything in the house after she bought it," Falco said.

The kitchen was renovated two years ago, featuring porcelain tile flooring, granite counter tops, a marble flashback and inset television.

"I love everything about the house – the spacious rooms, the kitchen, mixing the modern with the old charm is done really well," Falco said.


About the Bunge Mansion

4943 Highland Avenue

Built: 1882 (approximate)

Moved: 1928

Current owner: Lea Wayne

Asking price: $985,000

The home was registered as a historic landmark in 2009.

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