Mac-O-Chee, one of two historic Logan County homes known as the Piatt Castles, will go up for auction in October.
The 29-room limestone castle was built in the late 19th century by Donn Piatt, a famed journalist and diplomat who lived there with his second wife, Ella Kirby Piatt.
Piatt’s brother, Abram Sanders Piatt, built a second castle a mile away called Mac-A-Cheek. The castles have been open as house museums for more than a century.
Margaret Piatt is the sixth generation of her family to care for the castles. She said it took years for her and her husband, Jim White, to make the decision to sell the historic home.
It became increasingly clear to the couple they would not be able to muster the resources to manage the two properties and undergo needed restoration work. “We think waiting longer is putting the building at greater risk,” Piatt said.
J.L. Smithmeyer, the architect who designed the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., designed the 8,000 square-foot home, Piatt said. Two towers flank the structure, which is inspired by Flemish design with stepped gables.
Inside the grand home, faded frescoes cover the walls and an iron lamp shaped like a medieval pageboy illuminates a staircase that climbs to the second floor lined by varying shades of wood paneling.
Piatt believes there are many possible uses for the home including an events center or a bed and breakfast. “My greatest hope is it will be somebody who has the resources to do some real restoration and not just cover things up,” she said. “That is what I care for the most.”
The sale will allow Piatt and her husband to put resources into restoring Mac-A-Cheek, which will remain a house museum. They are working on ideas to open parts of the castle that have never been available to visitors.
Two tracts will be auctioned at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 19, four-acres including Mac-O-Chee and a four-acre tract with a pre-1900 four-bedroom farmhouse, barn and outbuilding.
Some of the antiques and collectibles in the house will be auctioned at 10:30 a.m.
Both castles are open for tours daily 11-5 through Labor Day and on weekends from 11-4 beginning Sept. 7.
The last day to tour Mac-O-Chee is Oct. 6 but two special events will occur on the weekend of October 26-27. They are an oral history project called Memories of Mac-O-Chee and the annual Halloween program, Ghosts and Goblins: Literature to Scare and Delight.
Mac-A-Cheek Castle will remain open on weekends through Oct. 27 and will reopen mid-April 2020. Visit www.piattcastles.org for event details and schedule updates.
Details about the auction can be found at https://www.piattcastles.org/auction.
About the Author