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updated: 5/23/2014 1:08 PM

Historic Wheaton home hits the market for first time in 40 years

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  • The Prairie Square-style home at 708 S. Wheaton Ave., built in 1904 by Jesse Wheaton, the co-founder of the city that bears his name, is up for sale.

      The Prairie Square-style home at 708 S. Wheaton Ave., built in 1904 by Jesse Wheaton, the co-founder of the city that bears his name, is up for sale.
    Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker

  • A much earlier look at the home at 708 S. Wheaton Ave. built by Jesse Wheaton for a grandson.

      A much earlier look at the home at 708 S. Wheaton Ave. built by Jesse Wheaton for a grandson.
    Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker

  • Homeowner Ewa Bacon

      Homeowner Ewa Bacon

 
 

Central air conditioning hadn't been invented in 1904, but butler's pantries and box-beam ceilings were all the rage.

Happily for would-be homeowners, a house that recently hit Wheaton's real estate market -- a home that was built at 708 S. Wheaton Ave. by the city's co-founder, Jesse Wheaton -- has both.

Coldwell Banker broker Linda Reilly said the five-bedroom, two-bath Prairie Square-style home was listed May 14 for $450,000.

The house also includes a screened-in porch and detached garage situated on a half-acre lot with space for a room addition.

Lewis University history professor Ewa Bacon and her husband, John, found the "neglected and unchanged" characteristics of the home to be "very appealing" and in 1975 spent $51,000 to become its fourth owners.

Shortly after signing the paperwork, Bacon said she began researching the history of the home and learned Jesse Wheaton, of F.E. Wheaton Lumber Co. fame, likely built the home for a grandson.

"It didn't take long to put the pieces together as we saw the quality of the woodworking and unique box-beam ceiling," Bacon said. "It's a grand house with large rooms and so many unique features. We've respected the history and preserved it to the best of our ability."

Bacon said she believes the home also features the "last-standing barn in downtown Wheaton," which long has been rumored by nearby Whittier Elementary School students to be haunted.

"I'm extremely fond of that barn. It was always a lot of fun," Bacon said. "Several years ago, there was a group of fifth-graders on their bikes looking and pointing at it, so I went out and opened it up to let them in the 'haunted barn.' It was a little dusty and there were spiders, but I can assure you there were no hauntings."

The Bacons moved out of the home on Sunday to a nearby condo because her husband no longer can maneuver the many stairs.

Ewa's excited to see who the fifth owners will be.

"I'm an academic, so I would love to see an academic in there, someone who will also appreciate the history behind it," Bacon said, "But I also hope it's a young family who will have another 30 to 40 years to dedicate to preserving it."

Reilly is hosting an open house walk-through from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 8.

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