Or, Caves, Castles and Camaros, Part Two
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.
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.
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.
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?