The Warren County Historical Society board approved selling the mansion, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, after it was determined that they could not continue to operate it as a museum. Historical society officials said the rising costs of maintaining the mansion and declining attendance were top reasons for selling the property.
According to the Warren County Auditor’s Office, the 4,424 square-foot Greek Revival was built in the 1840s. J. Milton Williams, Warren County’s prosecuting attorney at the time, had the home built for his family, according to the Harmon Museum. Williams, who was proud of his Welsh ancestry, called his home Glendower in honor of Owain Glyndwr, the last native Welshman to hold the title of Prince of Wales, the museum says.
The Warren County Historical Society acquired the Glendower mansion in 1944, but didn’t have the funds to maintain it as a museum, so it made a deal with the group now called the Ohio History Connection.
In 2007, the historical society reacquired the mansion from the Ohio History Connection, according to the county Auditor’s Office website. The auditor listed the value of the land and mansion at $329,180 as of Jan. 1, 2022.
Penny Worley, owner of the auction company, said the mansion at 105 Cincinnati Ave. will sell this time because the minimum starting bid has been obtained. However, she said a lot of buyers will wait until the last five minutes of the bidding period.
“We anticipate getting other bids and we continue to have showings almost every day,” she said. “This is a rare offering considering the house does not have a kitchen or bathrooms.”
She said there are other real estate agents showing the house to prospective buyers by appointment only.
Worley is a native Warren Countian who has been in the auctioneering business for 30 years.
Michael Coyan, executive director of the historical society, said the home had sold to a buyer in the fall, but the buyer backed out after having second thoughts.
Coyan said the mansion was mothballed in preparation for the current online auction. In addition, the restrictive covenants listed in the Governor’s Deed when the property was transferred to the WCHS have also been released by the Ohio History Connection.
He said most of the furniture and contents have been moved to the Harmon Museum or transferred to the Ohio History Connection, but the mansion will come with some furniture and the chandeliers left in place.
Coyan said the historic home was closed to visitors at Christmas in 2022 and did not reopen in 2023.
“We’re looking for someone to maintain the home, he said.
Coyan said only five families had lived at Glendower, and two of those families had children. He also noted that there are three cypress trees on the property that have been there since 1840, that were a gift from Henry Clay, who represented Kentucky in the U.S. House and Senate and served as the nation’s ninth Secretary of State. Clay also had three failed presidential bids.