Can Historical Homes Help Maywood Come Back from the Foreclosure Years?

A housewalk set for this Sunday, organized by the Neighbors of Maywood, aims to showcase great vintage homes and bargain buys.

Historical homes in Maywood

Photography: Dennis Rodkin
 

Clockwise from top left: A home built in 1894; a home built in 1927; a home believed to have been built by Eben Ezra Roberts; the home of an early mayor of Maywood

A housewalk on Sunday will showcase some lovely older homes for fans of vintage architecture, but to some of the organizers, there’s a larger purpose: highlighting Maywood as a bargain buy that may be coming back from the abyss of the foreclosure crisis and a surge in crime.

“We’re 15 minutes from downtown, and we have some houses that will blow your mind,” says Tom Kus, a longtime preservationist who’s running the housewalk for the Neighbors of Maywood organization. With home prices rising quickly in nearby towns like River Forest and Oak Park, Kus and others see a chance to position their slower-to-recover town as a place where buyers can maximize the square footage and historical character their money will buy.

“You’re not going to find many places where these kinds of houses are so affordable,” says Wayne Beals, a Keller Williams agent who lives in an 1893 home with 57 leaded-glass windows that he and his wife, Marni, paid $285,000 for in 2004. “The recession brought prices down to where it gets really interesting.”

Our April real estate charts showed that Maywood’s home prices in 2012 were nearly 80 percent below where they’d been in 2006—one of the biggest drops among suburbs. That’s in large part because of a high rate of foreclosure, which is now subsiding, just as it is in most locations. Crime is down in most categories since a surge a few years ago that caused one resident to call the town “Little Iraq.”

In an effort to build a comeback, “one of our best assets is our historical homes,” says Kus. Among the finest is a Prairie Style home by John Van Bergen that is on the market for $1.5 million. Click through the photo tour below to see more of them.

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