Franklin Castle

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Franklin Castle (aka Hannes Tiedemann House)
Hannes Tiedemann House Cleveland Ohio.jpg
Franklin Castle is located in Cleveland
Franklin Castle
Franklin Castle is located in Ohio
Franklin Castle
Franklin Castle is located in the US
Franklin Castle
Location 4308 Franklin Boulevard
Ohio City, Cleveland, Ohio
United States
Coordinates 41°29′8″N 81°42′59″W / 41.48556°N 81.71639°W / 41.48556; -81.71639Coordinates: 41°29′8″N 81°42′59″W / 41.48556°N 81.71639°W / 41.48556; -81.71639
Built 1881
Architect Cudell & Richardson
Architectural style Queen Anne
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP March 15, 1982

Franklin Castle (also known as the Hannes Tiedemann House) is a historical house located at 4308 Franklin Boulevard in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood.[2] The building has four stories and more than twenty rooms. It is purported to be the most haunted house in Ohio.[3]

On 15 March 1982, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[4]

Early history[edit]

The house was built in 1881 by architects Cudell & Richardson for Hannes Tiedemann, a German immigrant.[5] On January 15, 1891, Tiedemann's fifteen-year-old daughter Emma succumbed to diabetes. The house saw its second death not long afterwards when Tiedemann's elderly mother, Wiebeka, died. During the next three years the Tiedemanns would bury three more children, giving rise to speculation that there was more to the deaths than met the eye.

To distract his wife, Luise, from these tragedies, Tiedemann began extensive construction on the home, adding a ballroom which runs the length of the house in the fourth floor of the manor. Also during this building, turrets and gargoyles were added to the edifice's facade, giving the house an even more pronounced "castle" appearance.

It is rumored that there were hidden rooms and passageways that were used for bootlegging during Prohibition. Though rumored, none of these rooms or passageways exist other than a small stairway used by servants from the kitchen to the front door.

Luise Tiedemann died from a liver disease on March 24, 1895, at the age of fifty-seven. Hannes sold the house to the Mullhauser family, and by 1908 he and the entire Tiedemann family were dead,[6] leaving no one to inherit his considerable personal wealth.

Rumors of crimes committed in the house by Tiedemann (including sexual indiscretions and murder) have contributed to Franklin Castle's reputation as a haunted house.

Middle years[edit]

The house remained largely unoccupied until January 1968, when James Romano, his wife, and six children settled in the long abandoned building. The Romano family reported several encounters with ghosts in their new home, and attempted exorcisms and even had a now defunct ghost-hunting group (the Northeast Ohio Psychical Research Society) investigate the castle. By 1974, the Romanos decided to leave the house, and sold it to Sam Muscatello, who planned to turn the castle into a church.[7] To raise money for the church, tours and overnight stays at the castle were offered.

In 1982, the location was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[8]

In early 1984, Michael DeVinko, Judy Garland's last husband, purchased Franklin Castle and almost immediately started making major renovations to the house. Over the next ten years, DeVinko spent close to one million dollars renovating the Castle, even going so far as to track down some of the original furnishings for the Castle. Despite all this, DeVinko still decided to move out and put the house up for sale in 1994. A skeleton was discovered in a closet around the 1990s, according to the Plain Dealer.

Recent history[edit]

Franklin Castle in 2014

Ownership of the castle has changed hands frequently in the past thirty years. In 1999, Michelle Heimberger bought the castle and carriage house for $350,000 using part of her Yahoo! stock windfall as one of the company's early employees.[9][10]

In 1999 a fire badly damaged the castle.[11] The carriage house was damaged in a March 2011 fire.[12]

In 2004 there were rumors that Franklin Castle was going to be completely renovated and turned into the Franklin Castle Club.[13] As of 2006, the entire club was proven to be a complete sham, no repairs had ever been made, and the pictures on the website were all either close-up shots of individual architecture, or pictures stolen from other websites.[14] No work had ever been done, no memberships had ever been sold, and there was also evidence that the Castle had been used to shoot pornography.[15] around this time, though, the exterior stone of the building was cleaned and the parapet, on the left side of the facade, was rebuilt according to the 18th-century design.

It was announced in July 2011 that the Franklin Castle had been rezoned to allow it to become a 3 family dwelling, and that a sale was pending.[16]

Franklin Castle was purchased in 2011 for $260,000 by a European tapestry artist named Chiara Dona dalle Rose.[17] A permit for residential exterior alterations was issued by the city in February, 2012.[18] Local new sources have reported that the buyer intends to convert the building into three family homes and dwelling in two of the spaces.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ HouseFront
  3. ^ Willis, James A. (2005). Weird Ohio: Your Travel Guide to Ohio's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. Sterling Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 1-4027-3382-8. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Belanger, Jeff (2005). Encyclopedia Of Haunted Places: Ghostly Locales From Around The World. Career Press. p. 128. ISBN 1-56414-799-1. 
  6. ^ Mueller, Werner Diebolt (1993). To Cleveland and Away: Of Muellers, Reids, and Others. W.D. Mueller. p. 156. 
  7. ^ Kercheval, Nancy. "Church to Occupy Haunted Castle". Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ McIntyre, Michael K. (October 2, 2011). "Condemned Franklin Castle is sold, may have new life yet". Cleveland, Ohio. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  10. ^ Vindu Goel, When Yahoo Ruled the Valley: Stories of the Original ‘Surfers’, The New York Times, July 16, 2016, accessed July 18, 2016.
  11. ^ Vishnevsky, Zina. "Franklin Castle Risks Demolition". Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  12. ^ Kortan, Ted (March 22, 2011). "Franklin Castle property catches fire again". WEWS-TV. Retrieved April 1, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Franklin Castle Club". 
  14. ^ "Franklin Castle". 
  15. ^ Mazzolini, Joan (June 20, 2006). "New Strange Doings at Franklin Castle". The Plain Dealer. Cleveland, Ohio. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  16. ^ Kortan, Ted (July 20, 2011). "Haunted Franklin Castle: Sale Pending, Renovation Planned". WEWS-TV. Cleveland, Ohio. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]