On Sept. 17, a perfect late-summer day, a sold-out crowd of 1,200 visitors enjoyed a tour of the spectacular Grunow Mansion at 915 Franklin in River Forest. This one-time opportunity to walk through the elegant English Tudor built in 1928 by Majestic Radio magnate William Grunow, and later owned by reputed crime boss Anthony Accardo, attracted not only residents of both villages but hundreds of people from the entire metropolitan area.
The housewalk, one of the many events marking River Forest's 125th anniversary, was a fundraiser for the Historical Society of Oak Park & River Forest, a not-for-profit community organization that exists to preserve and make accessible the numerous facets of our rich local history.
The success of this housewalk was the result of months of hard work by many individuals. We are especially indebted to the incredible generosity and cooperation of the current owners of the Grunow Mansion who were willing to share their architecturally significant home with the community for this one day and, at the same time, help the Historical Society in continuing its mission.
The housewalk was also a "homecoming" for more than a dozen members of the Grunow family including William Grunow's son Bill, his daughter Valerie, three grandsons and several nieces and nephews who traveled from Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin to see the house and exchange information with the present homeowners.
Special thanks to the three talented actors who entertained those waiting in line to enter the mansion: John Rice who assumed the role of William Grunow and Tim Gamble and Mike Stewart who took turns portraying Tony "Big Tuna" Accardo in the morning and afternoon.
Finally, heartfelt thanks to the more than one hundred individuals who volunteered the day of the Housewalk to work one of two shifts to staff the rooms, guide tours, greet visitors, sell tickets and merchandise and direct traffic. We simply could not have done it without you.
Jean Guarino, Kelli Kline