The owner of an historic Auburn mansion has announced his intention to sell it. But first, the mansion will be the subject of a paranormal investigation.
Patrick Collier Connelly posted Saturday morning on the Facebook page of "The Auburn Castle," the 1870 brick mansion at 45 Owasco St., that he has decided to put it on the market.
Also Saturday morning, local real estate broker Michael DeRosa posted a video on Facebook in which he says he's working with Connelly to sell the mansion. The video then shows footage of what appears to be a ghost hunting team, the Auburn-based Soul Searchers, conducting an investigation on the property. Set to dramatic music, a narrator says, "there's something here."
The video ends with a graphic saying "coming soon." When contacted by The Citizen, DeRosa declined comment except to say there are "lots of great things in the works," and "stay tuned."
Connelly also declined comment on the paranormal investigation. However, he told The Citizen that he decided to sell "The Auburn Castle" because he wants to live full time in Georgia, where he ran a chandelier cleaning and restoration business. A native of Scipio, Connelly bought the mansion in 2016 after retiring, in hopes of restoring it as a summer home. He had "a fantasy" his family would move to the area, too, but with his grandchildren still in Georgia, he wants to stay there. He's also beginning an acting career there, he said.
AUBURN — Patrick Collier Connelly was sold by the time he got to the staircase.
"Without family, it's just a big old house," he said.
The property, which also includes a carriage house, was assessed at $58,999 in 2019, according to Cayuga County property records. Connelly purchased it for about $40,000 from Virginia Dewey, whose family, the Pastushans, owned it for more than 85 years. Prior to that, the mansion housed a succession of superintendents of the Auburn Woolen Mill. It was built for superintendent Samuel Laurie and designed by architect Nelson Hamblin, whose work in Auburn also includes the Faatz-Crofut Home for the Elderly and the State Street armory.
Connelly has overseen much restoration work on the 3,400-square-foot Gothic revival mansion, namely replacing its roof and installing electricity. He's also in the middle of restoring its windows. The mansion is "pretty much a blank slate" for its next owner, and Connelly has commissioned an architect to create a floor plan for the three-story structure.
With a Facebook page that has more than 3,700 followers, "The Auburn Castle" has felt like a community project, Connelly said. He has tried to give tours to anyone who stopped there. And the community has also shared stories and even offered him sinks, pianos and furniture to help restore the mansion to its period glory.
Connelly said he decided now would be a good time to sell given the interest in historic Auburn properties generated by the recent sale of the Seymour mansion at 113 North St. and the 1840 Dulles Inn at 67 South St. DeRosa also worked as the broker on both of those properties. He's working with the Seymour mansion's owner, the city of Auburn, to sell the property to someone who has its best interests in mind. The search process saw more than 200 prospective buyers submit applications. Connelly is taking a similar approach to "The Auburn Castle," he said.
"If I can find someone who has my passion and will do it the right way, I'm going to try to pass the reigns to them," he said. "I want it done right."