Historic Bunge Mansion Hits Downers Grove Realty Market

Downers Grove landmark lists for $985,000. General public invited to come tour the historic home on April 27.

This historic Bunge Mansion built in the 1880s has recently hit the market and is listed for $895,000. | Zillow
This historic Bunge Mansion built in the 1880s has recently hit the market and is listed for $895,000. | Zillow

The historic home of one of Downers Grove’s most preeminent citizens -- Gustav Bunge, who built the Tivoli Theatre -- has just hit the real estate market, listing for $985,000.

Known to locals as the “Bunge Mansion,” the house was built in the French Renaissance style and has been lovingly restored to its late 19th century splendor by its current owner, Lea Wayne.

This Sunday, April 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. there will be an open house for the general public to come inside and tour this fascinating Downers Grove landmark built in the 1880s.

Gustav Bunge was a German immigrant who came to Chicago with his parents when he was seven years old. He became a prominent attorney who had studied law at night while working in the day as a bookkeeper. 

The Bunge Mansion first gained notoriety when it was moved to its current address at 4943 Highland Ave. in 1928, to make way for the construction of the Tivoli Theatre -- one of the first movie theaters built in the United States specifically to show “talkies.”

The house was referred to as a “mansion” because it was the largest home in Downers Grove in its day, at 4,000 square feet. 

During the Depression, the home was owned by a Chicago-based Baptist church that had used it for a rooming house. Flooring on the second floor was purchased from the Chicago Theatre during the 1930s because there was no linoleum.

It wasn’t until the 1940s that a furnace was added. The house was originally heated by four fireplaces, including in the front parlor, kitchen, basement and upstairs bedrooms. Gustav added a three-dimensional stained glass window for his wife, because he thought it was interesting.

The Bunge Mansion was designated a Downers Grove landmark in 2009. The house has been completely renovated and boasts a stunning cook’s kitchen, updated bathrooms, custom millwork, all new Marvin windows and siding. The third floor suite features a theater and library, a fifth bedroom and full bath.

The broker is Elena Falco, of Grove Realtors. Interested buyers can reach her at 630-918-9590.

Story has been updated.


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