Ownership of Mac-O-Chee castle will remain in the hands of local owners.
Ryan and Jason Cole of West Liberty were the winning bidder of the Mac-O-Chee Castle Auction Saturday, Oct. 19.
They had the high bid of $510,000 for the castle, located at 2333 State Route 287, West Liberty, a neighboring farmhouse and eight acres of land.
“When we first announced this — that it was going to be sold — if someone was going to say it would only be sold for $510,000 you would’ve said that’s crazy,” said Auctioneer Tim Lile of Centerville, who grew up working as a tour guide at the castle.
The Coles are responsible for the closing costs bringing the total cost to $561,000. He must close on the property by Nov. 22.
There were about 12 bidders registered and only three to four participated in the bidding process, auctioneers reported.
Bidders were from California, Kansas, Virginia and all over the state of Ohio.
Lile said the Coles don’t know what their plans are yet for the property.
“But (they) assured me they do not have any intention of making this a private residence,” he said.
Lile also said the Coles hope to have some aspect of the estate remain open to the public.
The Cole family’s tentative plans are to keep the castle open to the public and possibly use it for weddings and other revenue-generating efforts, auction officials relayed in a Facebook video
The property was built by the Piatt ancestors and is currently owned by Margaret Piatt, the fifth generation of the Piatt family.
“They don’t have resources to care for both properties,” Lile said.
The goal of the auction was to put the property in someone else’s hands who has the resources and energy to take care of both properties, he continued.
One of the stipulations of the purchase is that the property was bought in the condition it currently sits.
Bidders also waived the right to a post-inspection for lead-based paints.
Plans to put the castle up for auction were announced in July.
Castle Mac-O-Chee is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is the nearby Mac-A-Cheek Castle, 10059 Township Road 47, West Liberty.
The homes were built by brothers Donn and Abram Piatt, respectively, and have been toured by visitors from all over the world.
Margaret Piatt represents the third generation of the Piatt family to hold title to and stewardship of the 19th Century limestone mansions.
Mac-O-Chee was the home of Donn and Ella Kirby Piatt and once was referred to as “an inspiration to poets and a study for painters.”
“In the present, we face the sad truth that we cannot afford the on-going maintenance of two properties, nor the restoration we hoped to implement in Mac-O-Chee,” said Margaret Piatt when the auction was announced.
“We’ve made the difficult decision to sell the one historic home before further damage occurs and to focus our resources on,” Mac-A-Cheek., she said.
Margaret Piatt added she was “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.
“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,” she said.