Blink and you’ll miss it. That’s how briskly actual property listings are moving into River Forest proper now. Within the case of 819 Thatcher Ave., there wasn’t even sufficient time to blink. The home, a grand property full with backyard home and coach home situated on one of many largest residential heaps within the village, wasn’t formally listed earlier than it was below contract.
Some folks know the home by the title Marygate — it’s carved within the stone on the entrance gate, and there’s a statue of the Virgin Mary within the entrance yard. Dennis Callahan, who along with his siblings grew up in the home and is promoting it on behalf of his mom’s property, notes that his mom named the home when the household moved into the house in 1968.
“Within the entrance corridor, there’s a little 3-by-3 room, probably not fairly a closet,” Callahan stated. “I don’t know what prior house owners did with it, however we had a statue of Mary in there on high of a pretend waterfall. There was an iron gate on the entrance, and also you closed it and had Marygate.”
His mom was a religious Catholic in response to Callahan. When he moved again to the home to maintain her in her later years, he says that he made positive she acquired to Mass each week at St. Luke’s.
Rising up in the home along with his three sisters was “method cool,” in response to Callahan. Though a breakfast room and household room had been probably later additions to the home, he notes that a lot of the house stays because it was when it was first constructed.
Oak Park River Forest Historic Society Govt Director Frank Lipo says that the home was constructed round 1918 for Walter Gerts. Though Gerts and his household moved to Thatcher Avenue from one other River Forest residence on Fast Avenue, he was initially from Oak Park.
In line with Lipo, Walter Gerts was a son of George Gerts and grew up within the household residence on Lake Avenue in Oak Park, situated roughly the place the Grace Church rectory stands at present.
The elder Gerts moved to Oak Park in 1869 and had his personal brush manufacturing agency. When he died, Oak Park scions Austin and Lombard served as his pallbearers.
Walter took over the household enterprise when his father died in 1914. He employed the Chicago architectural crew of Woltersdorf & Bernhard to assemble his home on Thatcher Avenue. Lipo notes that Woltersdorf designed Chicago’s Tree Studios and plenty of different industrial and industrial buildings.
In line with Lipo, the massive stone residence with the tiled roof was well-received and an article about it appeared within the periodical Western Architect in 1922.
At this time, Lipo says the home stays “one of many grandest homes and estates left in River Forest.”
For the Callahan household, it was simply residence — albeit one with some uncommon options. The house had a built-in music system that includes organ-like pipes in the lounge which linked to a sound-proof room within the basement. A setup much like a participant piano allowed paper rolls within the basement to play music in the lounge.
Whereas there have been plans for a pool that by no means materialized, the yard contains a separate construction that the Callahans known as the backyard home. Related to the principle home by an underground tunnel, the backyard home has a domed ceiling and shuffle board courts inlaid in tile on the ground. Callahan remembers a pool desk, ping pong and plenty of household events within the area.
The household additionally utilized the coach home residing area above the storage, with the entire Callahan kids residing there at completely different instances earlier than they launched into their unbiased lives.
Inside the house, a lot of the unique grandeur has been maintained. A surprising entrance door and sidelights are embellished high to backside with vibrant circles of stained glass. The entry lobby contains a coved ceiling with ornamental portray. The lounge’s ceiling can also be painted with a mural, and iron gates lead into the eating room.
Elizabeth August, realtor with @properties who helped dealer the sale for the Callahans, says the house is in nice situation.
Callahan stated that he tried for years to get his mom to replace the unique kitchen, which has solely about six toes of area between cupboards and room for a five-foot tall fridge. In line with August, the brand new house owners are planning some updates to the house, together with making over the kitchen to accommodate their household.
Whereas it would want a little bit of modernity, the grand dame’s unique type has loads of enchantment in response to August.
“Take into consideration when this was in its prime,” she stated. “The entertaining that will need to have gone on right here.”
The historical past of the house is a part of its attraction. Rising up in River Forest, August says everybody knew of the house.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and also you simply don’t see houses like this,” August stated.
She factors to the woodwork lining the stairwell and the powder room with gold ceilings and says, “Issues like this simply aren’t finished anymore.”
August will not be stunned that the home offered earlier than she formally listed it. One cause? The realtor says River Forest actual property is transferring quick as of late.
“River Forest is an efficient deal in comparison with Hinsdale and even Elmhurst,” August stated.
Additionally, she says, “This home hasn’t been available on the market in a very long time. There was plenty of native curiosity and curiosity from the town. Due to the pandemic, we’re seeing plenty of folks wanting to alter and in search of a unique life-style and extra land.”