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‘Everyone wants to see a castle’: Sorg Mansion open for tours this weekend

A “work of art” will be showcased this weekend in Middletown.

The Sorg Mansion, built in 1887 by Paul J. Sorg, one of Middletown’s first industrialists and first multimillionaires, will be one of the 14 historic buildings featured Sunday during the 2018 South Main Historic District Candlelight Tour of Homes.

MORE: Sorg Mansion restoration taking shape in Middletown

Owners of the Sorg Mansion on Main Street in Middletown are restoring the buildings on the property. (Nick Graham)

Jeremy Loukinas, secretary of the historic district, believes this will be the first time the mansion has been open to the public since the 1930s.

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He called the mansion “an obvious draw.”

FROM 2009: Sorg Mansion draws interest from preservation group

Loukinas said the home tour is nearly sold out. Initially, he said, the plan was to sell 1,000 tickets, but the demand was so great, 300 more tickets were released. After those sold, 100 more were offered, he said.

“Everyone wants to see a castle,” he said with a laugh.

Repairs to the slate roof on the Sorg Mansion took eight months to complete.  (Contributed)

Mark and Traci Barnett purchased the Sorg Mansion in 2013, and ever since, the Baltimore couple has dedicated their lives to restoring the three-story, 12-bedroom, eight-bathroom brick-and-stone Romanesque castle that features 12-foot ceilings and fireplaces in every bedroom.

MORE: Sorg Mansion sold for $225,000

Traci Barnett, who is now executive director of the Middletown Community Foundation, said they have replaced the slate roof, repaired the box gutters and internal gutters, restored the exterior stones to their original colors, repaired the detailed woodwork, painted walls, replaced wallpaper and purchased “historic lighting” for some of the rooms.

The couple lives on the second floor, and while the restoration is ongoing, Barnett said the mansion’s foyer and drawing room on the first floor will be open during the home tour.

The mansion has received $212,500 in tax credits from the Ohio Development Services Agency, and the total project to renovate the South Main Street property is estimated at nearly $1.32 million.

Prior to the purchase by the Barnetts, the mansion was home to dance and photo studios, a construction company and low-income apartments over the years.

Barnett said when some people consider purchasing a home that requires extensive repairs, they take “one look and they run.”

But the couple has embraced the challenge, she said.

“We’d love to bring it back to life,” she said.

Proceeds from the sale of the $15 tickets are used to maintain the Robbins Fountain in Old South Park and for other projects to promote the preservation of and education about the South Main Street Historic District, according to Loukinas.

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HOW TO GO

WHAT: 2018 South Main Historic District Candlelight Tour of Homes. This is a self-guided outdoor tour and participants will be following more than 800 candle lights throughout the historic district. The event will be held rain, snow or shine.

WHEN: 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. People should start sometime between 3 to 5:30 p.m. It will take at least two hours to complete the entire tour, and the event closes at 8 p.m.

TICKETS: $15 per person. Click here to buy tickets online. Participants are encouraged to start at the ticket location, 114 S. Broad St., St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

PARKING: Available at the three churches on Broad Street (see below) or MidPointe Library Middletown, 125 S. Broad St.

MORE INFO: Tour maps and more information at www.historicsouthmain.org/2018candlelight

FEATURED LOCATIONS:

2 S. Main St. (Windamere Event Center/Barnitz Bank)

56 S. Main St. (Pickwick Building)

63 S. Main St. (Sorg Opera House)

68 S. Main St. (Barnitz House)

121 S. Main St. (Goldman House)

206 S. Main St. (Sorg Mansion)

214 S. Main St. (Marston House)

231 S. Main St. (Denny House)

603 S. Main St. (Dr. Warner Home)

604 S. Main St.: (D. E. Harlan House)

609 S. Main St.: (W. T. Harrison House)

916 First Ave.: (Rolling Mill Brewery will be launching a seasonal beer)

212 S. Broad St. (Bethlehem Lutheran Church)

120 S. Broad St. (First United Methodist Church)

114 S. Broad St. (St. Paul’s United Church of Christ)

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