Forest Park’s historic Lobstein house is for sale.
John George Lobstein, a Chicago lumber mill magnate and cabinet maker, built the Victorian on the 900 block of Elgin Avenue, in the 1890s for his second wife. The home’s current owner, Richard Bertucci runs a business in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, and told the Review he’s downsizing and moving closer to work.
The 5-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 4,100-square-foot home is listed for $699,000.
“I have always pictured myself moving back to the city. I love Forest Park. I always have and I always will,” Bertucci said Aug. 18. “We’ve had some great parties here. I have a lot friends in Forest Park.”
Bertucci bought the home in 1990 and said he’s enjoyed his 27 years there, but it was “time to move on.”
Lobstein’s son, Theodore, ran a bank and real estate company in Forest Park, near Elgin and Roosevelt Road, Diane Grah, a member of the Forest Park Historical Society, wrote in an email to the Review on Aug. 18. Grah said Lobstein is buried at Forest Home Cemetery.
“Local lore has the house as haunted. John’s second wife, Adaline, died in the home and many thought she haunted it,” Grah wrote. “Don’t think it’s true.”
Bertucci concurred, adding he hasn’t experienced any other-worldy beings in his nearly three decades in the home. He did, however, mention that a few previous owners have said the home is haunted. A 2006 Chicago Tribune article details psychics visiting the home, neighbors seeing “shadows” in the attic and anecdotes of weird noises coming from inside the house.
In his book, Haunted Chicago: Famous Phantoms, Sinister Sites, and Lingering Legends, Tom Ogden writes, “The true history of the Lobstein House — and that of its spirits — is almost impossible to pin down. Conflicting stories about the house and its first occupants remain.”
History aside, Roz Byrne, the realtor who listed the home, said she’s excited to see such a unique home on the market.
“Every time I’d drive by it, I’d just say, ‘Oh my god,'” Byrne said. “It’s just absolutely stunning.”
She added that the home’s Forest Park location keeps the price lower than in neighboring communities.
“If this house was just a few blocks east and in Oak Park, it’d be on the market for well over one million dollars.”
The home’s historic significance and architectural beauty often attract passers-by.
“It’s amazing,” Bertucci said. “All the time, just about every other day, you can look out the window and see cars are stopped. People are knocking on the door, asking to come in.”
Bertucci says he doesn’t mind the attention.
“I take it as a compliment, I really do.”