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Dunham Castle to open during Relay for Life fundraiser

WAYNE – Alex’s Army – a Relay for Life team of about 25 Batavia High School and Marmion Academy seniors – wants to complete its participation in the American Cancer Society event in June by reaching $100,000 in total funds raised over its six-year history.

A holiday reception this weekend at Dunham Castle will help the team reach its goal.

“We wanted to go out in style,” said Susan Clingen, mother of one of the team members.

Alex’s Army is named after Alex Kintz, a Batavia eighth-grader who died of bone cancer in 2009. His friends formed the team when he was diagnosed, Clingen said.

She said the team had other fundraisers throughout the years, such as a three-on-three basketball tournament. This year, Alex’s Army approached Baird & Warner Real Estate after learning Dunham Castle was for sale.

Leslie Ebersole, the listing agent with the bank-owned property, said she has turned down requests from others wanting to use the 1885 structure, but she liked the proposal from Alex’s Army.

“It’s just a nice, small event to bring something good out of a number of unfortunate circumstances,” she said.

The Mark Dunham family built the 12,000-square-foot residence and lived in it for many years, Ebersole said. In the 1930s, the home was divided into apartments, and private owners have attempted to restore it to a single-family home since the 1970s. She noted it has been bank-owned since April.

Because Ebersole only shows the home to serious buyers, Clingen said, this weekend’s event is a good opportunity for those curious about the property to tour it.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Clingen said.

Tickets are $30 or $25 for seniors and are available for times between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Buy them at or at the door.

Visitors can tour the first floor and may see the second and third floors as conditions permit, Ebersole said.

A local historian and docents will be available to answer questions, and musicians will perform throughout the day, Clingen said.

Clingen, an interior decorator, has staged the castle’s first floor with furnishings provided by the Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Aurora.

“Some of the rooms are very true to the period,” she said, noting photographs of the original furnishings are similar to those she used.

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