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A Man’s Home is His Castle – Especially When it is a Castle

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Bill Primavera
Bill Primavera

By Bill Primavera

Always a sucker for “special” houses, for many years I had been craning my neck when driving by such a house on Route 6N, just over the Westchester border into Mahopac, Putnam County.

With its stone structure and two-story turrets on each of its four corners, it appeared to be a smaller version of a medieval castle. Each time I passed it, I wondered how something so out of the ordinary came to be. Then, about 20 years ago, I found the answers to my questions in an article that appeared in The New York Times.

The “castle,” a nearly 140-year-old house on Route 6N in Mahopac.

That was a few years before I became a realtor and little could I know that I would one day be contacted by the owners of this “castle,” asking me to list it for sale.  Now representing the “castle” has given me the opportunity to learn more about it.

The current owners, Clizia and Craig Yoe, happened to have saved that article and presented it to me among the materials I requested to support my marketing of the property. The article refreshed my dimming memory about its history and special features.

The house was built around 1880 by an immigrant from England who had done well in the architectural salvage business. And a number of his salvaged architectural elements were incorporated into its interior. These include carved marble fireplaces, archways framed with pilasters and keystone, leaded glass windows and, on the exterior, yes, gargoyles.

Its history from that point until 1961, when it was purchased by a retired Foreign Service officer is somewhat vague. But the new owner at that time set out to restore and modernize the structure. She was hampered significantly in 1972 when a spark from the chimney sent the castle up in flames, completely destroying the second floor and smaller third floor, which contained servants’ quarters.

Undaunted, its owner set about rebuilding. In a way, the fire presented an opportunity to more thoroughly modernize the three-bedroom house. What was originally the third floor, is now a spacious attic. The house sits on two level acres and is partially concealed from the road with a thicket of evergreens which the former owner planted when she found that too many curious passersby would stop off, sometimes to have a picnic lunch on the grounds.

The Yoes say that when they were looking for a home in the area, they said they asked their realtor to “show us something special, not cookie-cutter” and the “castle” was the response. It was a love-at-first-sight situation for the couple, and the only reason they are selling it now is a contemplated move to Europe.

Now the 2,700-square-foot home on two acres is offered to new owners who seek the exceptional living experience. Also on the property is a round stone ice house that can be used for play or storage and a substantial tree house. A contiguous one-acre lot is also for sale.

If you want to live in a castle, contact me at 914-522-2076 or at

William Primavera, while a publicist and journalist, is also a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. ( To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.


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