From the moment we pulled into the estate, we were impressed by the clocks and machinery located throughout the grounds. The Sanfilippo Estate houses the worlds largest collection of restored automated musical instruments in the world. And that doesn't even begin to tell the story.
Walking into the residence, the amazing entry foyer takes your breath away. Looking up you will see a wonderful chandelier hanging from a beautiful stained glass panel. As you move forward you see a long elegant rising staircase (the carpet was designed to match the stained glass panel on the ceiling) with a large 1892 organ orchestrian on the landing.
To the right of the entry is the 350 seat theater which houses the world's largest theater organ. The organs 8,000 pipes can play 80 different organ sounds.
Throughout the rest of the residence are arcade games, phonographs with horns and other player pianos and orchestrians, each one of them beautiful in their own right. I was particularly struck by one that included 3 violins in the upper cabinet. I later came to learn that this was Jasper Sanfilippo's first acquisition.
The evenings main event was dinner in the Carousel building. The main feature of course is the Eden Palais Carousel which originally toured in France from 1890 to 1959. It was acquired and restored in 1987 by the Sanfilippo Estate. It was powered by three steam engines, one for the carousel, one for the lighting and one for the organ.
Dinner was held in the front of the building around the spectacular Joseph Mayer cast iron street clock. Standing over 20 feet tall, the clock tower weighs 4 tons and was originally owned by the Ameerican Jewelry Company of Bakersfield, California. A silent and live auction were held. Raffle tickets were sold for a $5,000 grand prize drawing, the winner of which promptly donated the prize back to the Bridge.
I would like to thank the co-chairs Wendy Copeland, Jon Schwartz, Lisa Hanson-Braun and Gary Braun as well as all of the people at The Bridge Youth and Family Services that put on this wonderful event. I would also like to thank all the people that work with and for the Sanfilippo Estate for the time they spent making sure we had a good time and providing so much information and history on the pieces in their collection.
The Bridge Youth and Family Services provides programs and services to children and their families in Palatine Township, as well as providing Crisis Intervention to six townships in Northwest Suburban Cook County. They do wonderful work with at risk children in our community and could always use your support. To learn more about becoming a mentor or contributing financially visit http://bridgeyouth.org/ for information.