My Town Monday: Castles in Ohio? Why, Yes!

Or, Caves, Castles and Camaros, Part Two

Camaros grace the lawn at Mac-o-cheek Castle

For the second leg of last month’s Fall Foliage Cruise, sixteen Camaros (and one Saturn Sky) stopped at Mac-o-cheek Castle in Logan County.

I had no idea this place existed.

To be sure, it’s not a “castle” like we associate with in Europe and the UK. Mac-o-cheek (and its neighbor, Mac-o-chee) are more like large estate homes, more in the vein of Casa Loma in Toronto. Neither of these is as big as Casa Loma, but they are older.

Mac-o-cheek Castle

The two castles were built by brothers Abram and Donn Piatt, in the 1860s-70s. Mac-o-cheek Castle was Abram’s, and is the smaller of the two. It was also completed first, and its ownership has stayed in the family since.

What’s really impressive about Mac-o-cheek Castle is the interior. The walls are covered in beautiful wood paneling from native trees, and trimmed by artful scrollwork. All of the furniture inside was actually used by the Piatt family.

Neither of the Piatt brothers had the intention of opening his home to the public, but people were continually stopping by and asking to see. Unwilling to be rude, the family admitted the tourists. This went on beyond the turn of the century, until weary of the intrusions, the families decided to charge admission, thinking it would discourage would-be visitors. Instead, it had the opposite effect.

Elaborate woodwork graces the interior of Mac-o-cheek Castle

Still offering tours, the Piatt family occupied Mac-o-cheek until 1989, moving first into the back rooms of the house, and later into the servants’ quarters. After that, the tours continued, along with ongoing restoration work.

Mac-o-chee Castle sits a little less than a mile away, and was built by Donn Piatt, the elder of the brothers. Mac-o-chee is the larger and more elaborate of the two homes, but is not as well-preserved. Unlike its neighbor, Mac-o-chee was sold out of the family around the turn of the century. Three owners and six decades later, Piatt descendants regained ownership of the home, but it had suffered a good deal of damage in the interim.

Sixteen Camaros parked outside Mac-o-chee Castle enhance the property's beauty

Like Mac-o-cheek, Mac-o-chee is filled with beautifully-crafted woodwork. It also boasts painted ceilings reminiscent of those found in the great castles of Europe. Sadly, the majority are not in good condition, and due to the sales, the antique furniture inside is also not original to the property.

Both properties are well worth the price of admission, which is $12 per castle, or $20 for both. Children get an additional discount, as do groups of 20 or more with reservations. So if you’re in the area and are looking for a day trip, consider the castles! As for the sixteen Camaros and their occupants, a good time was had by all.

Did you know there was anything like this in Ohio? What about where you live?

17 Responses to \

  1. The closest thing here is someone tore down 3 houses and built a mansion. I don’t think Alberta has castles. If I ever got really rich I would buy a huge chunk of land and build Castle Asrai.

  2. Asrai – Castle Asrai, I love it!

    Julie – I’ll have to check out the Bishop’s Palace if I ever get to Galveston. Thanks to both of you for stopping by!

  3. Strangely enough, even though I live in a small town, we have an almost castle in the center of town. It’s probably not big enough to really be called a castle, but it has castle-type details, and it’s 3-4 times bigger than any other home. Very cool to know there are these mini-castles everywhere.

  4. Sounds cool, Marcy! These are in the middle of nowhere, so that’s part of their best-kept-secret status. Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a gorgeous place! It reminds me of a historic home in Minnesota. If/when I travel through Ohio, I’ll be sure to check it out. Many of the “castles” (more like mega-mansions ;)) in S. California have less personality and history, IMHO…unless you’re into celebrity factoids and the like. Hoping to travel up the coast sometime soon, as there are numerous old castles worth visiting.

  6. Wow Jennette – that’s beautiful! Looks like a gorgeous day. And all those Cameros – my goodness, I need to get my bad self to Ohio!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  7. I love seeing castles from other parts of the world. To discover these are in Ohio is amazing. šŸ™‚

    Let’s see, the closest castle in my area is actually a house made from the old glass 7-up pop bottles into the shape of a castle.

  8. Colleen – so true! I love discovering not-so-well-known goodies like this. I have to give credit to one of my Camaro friends, who organized the cruise. It was all fantastic!

    Patricia – 16 Camaros was certainly something to see, especially against the backdrop of the beautiful countryside. Thanks for stopping by!

    Sheila – These were definitely new to me! I saw a house built of bottles in Death Valley, but it was tiny. That castle must be amazing!

  9. No telling where you and that Camaro will end up next!

    I found this post very interesting. My husband was raised in Ohio and he knew nothing of these castles. Very cool!

    My husband and I love Camaros. We had a ’71 and ’79, but that was a while ago.

    I enjoyed my tour. Can’t wait for the next one. See you soon!

  10. Very cool! I love visiting places like this. Drag the husband through them whenever we find them. Of course out here we have the famous Hearst Castle. But in the small town where I grew up we have a less famous castle I had planned to visit at some point for my blog. The owner built it himself out of all kinds of things. It’s pretty crazy and looks like a fortress from the outside. Not a big beautiful building. I remember touring it with my Sunday school class as a kid.

  11. Very true, Karen! My husband has a ’79 Trans Am and I also have a ’99 Firebird, so we are definitely an f-body family.

  12. Like my Alberta friends, I’m not aware of any castles in our province. There’s an awesome one in Victoria…But I never thought of one in Ohio. thanks for the trip into the unknown.