The beautifully restored Victorian mansion at 28 S. Loomis Street holds a treasure trove of history—and represents a gift of the heart to North Central College by former owners Bartley and Maricela ’99 Madden. Their foresight to preserve the historic home by giving it to the College will long be remembered as an example of extraordinary generosity.
“We spent nine years restoring the home and we felt it would be best in the College’s hands—and the College would get the benefit of using the house,” explains Bartley Madden.
“After we put so much into it, we felt that giving to the College was coming full circle,” adds Maricela Madden, a fine arts major who labored over the details of the restoration, finding appropriate wallpaper patterns, paint colors, carpeting and authentic furnishings. The plumbing, wiring, roof, heating and air conditioning were updated to ensure long-term structural integrity. The carriage house in the rear was completely rebuilt and served as Maricela’s art studio, while the elaborate landscape pillars and gardens mimic those surrounding other grand Victorian mansions.
The couple extensively researched the home, learning about its connection to North Central as home of A.A. Smith, the College’s first president. “During the 1880s, the home was a social center in Naperville,” says Maricela. “The Smiths hosted students, professors and other visitors, and the home was always filled with music.”
So returning the home to its perfectly restored state made sense to the couple, who wanted its history preserved forever. “Once we decided to give the house to the College, we felt great about it,” says Bartley. “It was perfect for us and the College, but also the community.”
The couple also decided to make a substantial gift in support of the College’s new fine arts facilities, which resulted in naming the black box theater the Bartley and Maricela Madden Theatre in the Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center.
Bartley Madden retired as a managing director of Credit Suisse in 2003 and has since pursued research, writing and speaking on topics related to Federal Drug Administration (FDA) reform and access to late-stage experimental drugs. He’s published articles and appeared at conferences to discuss changes in FDA regulations. He also maintains a website called www.LearningWhatWorks.com.
“I’ve always wanted to be an academic, and I’ve long been interested in the deeper issues of inquiry and reliable knowledge,” Bartley Madden says. “I spent my business career in stock market research and valuation of companies and now I’m researching public policy issues.”
Those issues receive the same thorough attention and research that the couple directed toward historic preservation and philanthropy, bettering their neighborhood, community and North Central College for generations to come.
North Central Now Annual Report 2008