Castle Saved, Thanks to You
If you've dallied and still haven't seen the lush Victorian fantasy that is the Brewmaster's Castle, you've won a reprieve. Go.
And if you've come to understand the importance of this landmark building near Dupont Circle, you get to share in the relief now being enjoyed by Gary Heurich, the grandson of the brewer Christian Heurich, who built the mansion.
As I reported earlier this month, the castle has been threatened with foreclosure by the bank that holds its mortgage. But a robust response from Post readers and other supporters of the 19th century mansion has resulted in enough money that the bank has backed off and the castle will remain open for tours, banquets, parties and the like.
Details after the jump in a news release from Heurich.
There's still much money to be raised to secure the future of the house, and year's end could bring another, tougher crisis. But there's city money in the offing, and a more concerted effort to reach major donors is being planned. For now, things at the grand old house are looking up.
BREWMASTER'S CASTLE WILL REMAIN OPEN FOR PUBLIC USE
$100,000 in Community Support and Cooperative Lender
Pave Way for Refinancing; Major Donors Now Needed By December
WASHINGTON, DC, March 15 - Washington's landmark Brewmaster's Castle will remain open to the public, thanks to more than $100,000 in donations from nearly 2,000 individuals and imminent refinancing of the Castle's $5.5 million mortgage.
The announcement was made today jointly by Gary F. Heurich, a representative of Friends of The Castle, an independent citizens organization formed six weeks ago to help rescue the 19th century mansion from possible foreclosure and sale, and Mark G. Griffin, chairman of the Heurich House Foundation, the public foundation which owns The Castle.
Friends of the Castle warned in late January that the New Hampshire Avenue home of German brewer Christian Heurich could be sold and lost to public use unless $250,000 could be raised by Feb. 15 to pay off mortgage interest. The strong community response - donations of more than $70,000 in the first 17 days -- led the cooperative lender to extend the deadline for raising the balance to March 15.
"The Friends, the community and our lender have done their part," said Foundation chair Mark G. Griffin. "The Castle has raised enough money to meet its current obligations, so we now have time to seek major donors to help retire $1.75 million in debt by December. This will reduce interest costs so the site can be fully self-supporting."
Griffin noted that Friends of the Castle have boosted the landmark's visibility and attracted more visitors and private donations in the past six weeks than it has enjoyed in 50 years of service to the public.
"We are enormously grateful to Gary Heurich and Friends of The Castle for their heroic fundraising effort, without which this second chance would not have been possible," Griffin said.
According to Gary F. Heurich, in the six weeks since the announcement of the Castle's plight, a total of 1,978 people donated a total of $100,579. More than 1,600 of those gifts were made in person by visitors for tours or fundraisers, representing greater visitation than The Castle has ever had.
Tours of the Castle's ornate Victorian interiors have proved so popular that they have been expanded from 2 days to 5 days a week, led by a cadre of new docents attracted by the Castle's heightened visibility.
In another promising development for The Castle, District of Columbia Council Member Jack Evans (Ward 2) has committed to securing $500,000 for the Castle from DC's FY 2007 budget. These funds would become available October 1 and provide 30 percent of the next fundraising goal of retiring $1.75 million in debt by December.
Besides contributions to reduce The Castle's debt, two anonymous donations totaling more than $100,000 were received for roof and structural repairs.
More information about the Brewmaster's Castle can be found at www.brewmasterscastle.com
By Marc Fisher |
March 17, 2006; 11:44 AM ET
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