Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

Romance Dwells Within Ohio's Civil War Era Castles



Ever since we were little, sitting on grandma's lap listening to fairy tales, we've been told of majestic castles in far away lands. We learned that castles are fortresses where daring knights fend off enemies to the throne; they're havens for royalty to live, dine and entertain; they're places of magical encounters with sorcerers and dragons; and most of all, within their walls, love and romance enrapture the soul.

The great castles in Europe, are monuments to a romantic past. They turn the pages of a fairy tale as they proudly model their steeples, towers, turrets and dormers.

You can experience the beauty of such structure here in the heart of the U.S.A. - in Ohio. Castles in Ohio? Yes Ohio.

The Piatt Castles, two historic homes near West Liberty, Ohio, are open daily for tours each spring through fall. These Civil War era homes, Mac-A-Cheek Castle and Mac-O-Chee Castle, were built by two Piatt brothers and have long been favorite stops for visitors to west central Ohio.

Mac-A-Cheek, home of Civil War general and gentleman farmer Abram Sanders Piatt, sits atop a hill that offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding Mac-A-Cheek Valley. Built of native limestone and hardwoods, Mac-A-Cheek was completed in 1871. The Norman-French style home is decorated with ornate woodwork and intricate painted ceilings. Highlights of the castle include several generations of Piatt family furnishings, firearms, Native American artifacts, patent models and an extensive library.

The other castle, Mac-O-Chee, was the home of editor, writer, social critic and diplomat Donn Piatt. The caste is nestled in a hillside just a short distance from Mac-A-Cheek. Built in two sections, Mac-O-Chee started in the 1860s as a modest Gothic style rural retreat. It was then expanded in the late 1870s with the addition of a Flemish-inspired limestone front that wraps around the older section. This remodeling also included dramatic new woodwork and painted walls and ceilings. After the castle was completed in 1881, the family played host to many lively and elaborate parties in the elegant first floor drawing room and library.

Mac-O-Chee is noted for original 19th-century gas lighting fixtures, the creative use of elaborate wood carvings on doorways and fireplaces and an intriguing collection of European, Asian and American furnishings and objects.

Both castles are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The homes are open for tours daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May through September and from noon to 4 p.m. daily in April and October. Special discounted admission and extended hours are also available for groups of 20 or more with prior reservations.

The Piatt Castles are located east of West Liberty, Ohio, on State Route 245. For further information on planning your trip to view the castles, contact The Piatt Castles at P.O. Box 497, West Liberty, OH; 43357; 937/465-2821. Website: www.piattcastles.org