WEST LIBERTY – Ryan and Jason Cole of West Liberty were the winning bidders for Piatt Castles’ Mac-O-Chee for the price of $510,000 plus closing costs due by Nov. 22.
The sale was held Saturday after a Piatt descendant, Margaret Piatt, opted to sell Mac-O-Chee in order to raise the resources to continue owning companion castle Mac-A-Cheek.
According to the sale’s auctioneer, Tim Lile, the Cole brothers intend to keep Mac-O-Chee available to the public in some capacity.
“In the interests of that objective, the Coles spent an additional $30,000 purchasing the bulk of the antique furnishings and collectibles sold in the live and online auctions,” said Lile.
One of the Cole brothers told Lile, “We figured if it was in the castle before the sale, we wanted it to remain there for the future.”
Lile said the Coles had to outlast bidders from California, Kansas, Virginia and Ohio. The final back bidder at $505,000 was another local business owner.
“The question of ‘how much will it bring’ always comes up when initially planning for an auction,” Lile said. “This is never an easy question and the uniqueness of this property made it especially difficult to predict value. We were truly in the mode of ‘value discovery’ on auction day. When asked, I told them I couldn’t be certain, but felt comfortable suggesting an anticipated range between $400,000 and $600,000. Fortunately, for the Piatt family, we landed in the upper end of that spectrum.”
Lile had a special place in his heart for this particularly unique real estate sale. He had served as a tour guide at the castle during his college years.
“It was a beautiful sunny day (on Saturday) with over 300 people in attendance. Many were there for a stroll down memory lane having worked at the castle before or simply relishing in their childhood memory of visiting the iconic treasure,” Lile said. “All seemed in high spirits throughout the day and especially so after the winning bidder of the real estate was announced and folks realized that local interests would retain control of the property and that future generations will have the opportunity to experience this beautiful Logan County landmark.”
Margaret Piatt of Piatt Castles Inc. has announced that October will mark the end of the final tour season for the historic structure Mac-O-Chee. There is one final Piatt event scheduled for this weekend … a Halloween program at Mac-O-Chee Castle on Saturday, Oct. 26, and Sunday, Oct. 27, at 4:30 p.m. See accompanying story for details on how to attend.
130 years ago …
Margaret represents the 3rd generation of the Piatt family (daughter Kate represents the 4th generation) to hold title to and stewardship of the two 19th century limestone mansions known as Mac-O-Chee and Mac-A-Cheek, built by Piatt brothers Donn and Abram, respectively. Visitors from all over the world have toured these unique homes nestled in the countryside east of West Liberty, and both properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
When asked in July why the family was selling Mac-O-Chee, Piatt replied, “As I reflect upon the past, I am grateful that my parents and uncle were able to purchase Mac-O-Chee and that three generations of my family have had the opportunity to share it with the public. In the present, we face the sad truth that we cannot afford the ongoing maintenance of two properties, nor the restoration we hoped to implement in Mac-O-Chee. We’ve made the difficult decision to sell the one historic home before further damage occurs and to focus our resources on the other building, Mac-A-Cheek. As we look to the immediate and more distant future, we intend to continue our mission of public education by expanding our exhibit and program offerings … at Mac-A-Cheek Castle.”
In addition to Mac-O-Chee (on four acres), the auction included the farmhouse next door, also on four acres, plus surplus antiques and collectibles.
Minimum bid for the Mac-O-Chee Castle was $150,000, and the minimum bid for the neighboring farmhouse was $150,000. The castle and farm could be bid on separately, but the minimum joint bid was $300,000.
Lile said prior to the sale, the castle would require additional investment from the new owner for future use.
Lile said new owners would be free to do with the castle and/or farmhouse as they choose. He said a property being listed on the National Register does not overlay any restrictions on it. Lile said the property, if restored, has limitless possibilities and could serve as a lodging destination in an area of Logan County known for tourism.
Info from Tim Lile, auctioneer, and Margaret Piatt, Piatt Castles Inc.