WEST LIBERTY – Brothers Donn and Abram Piatt sure chose great spots to build their homes in the 1860s. Not only are Mac-O-Chee and Mac-A-Cheek Castles great historical tours, but the land they are on is just breathtaking. Feel free to walk the grounds, enjoy the blooming spring flowers, peruse the outside exhibits or sit quietly on a bench. Soak in the sounds of the birds chirping in the trees and you may even see a squirrel or chipmunk scamper by.
I think where the brothers built their homes says a lot about their personality. Donn started the cottage in 1864 for his wife Louise Kirby Piatt who suffered from consumption, now known as tuberculosis. Unfortunately she passed away before it was completed, so he closed the cottage. In 1879 he and his second wife Ella Kirby Piatt, Louise’s younger sister, added the front portion onto the home. They were interested in entertaining at Mac-O-Chee Castle, doing so in comfort and style. When the weather was nice, guests attending parties could wander the grounds and even play a sporting game of croquet.
Donn built his home out in the open with woods behind the house where it was meant to be seen. It is true that it is a great place for inspiration, to sit with paper, pen or easel and paints to write or draw to your heart’s content. Donn and Louise were writers and Ella was an artist.
Abram’s home was built back a long winding lane also with an entrance and exit. In between the two are the crumbling stone remains of a family owned grist mill – built between 1864-1871 for Abram and his family. It was a working farm with the grist mill, sawmill, several crops and animals needed for food. Abram also raised race horses.
Abram’s home is in a more private setting. Farm fields surround the homes peaceful atmosphere and it was a wonderful place to raise a family with eight children.
Mac-O-Chee and Mac-A-Cheek Castles opened for the season on April 16, 2016 and are open on Saturdays and Sundays until Memorial Day weekend. They will be open every day until after Labor Day weekend, after which they are open on Saturdays and Sundays until the end of October. Call ahead for touring fee at 937-465-2821.
Source- William Mac-A-Cheek Piatt II Memorial Archives
Tami Wenger is a regular contributor to this newspaper.