As the days grow shorter and the air gets that delightful autumn chill, my mind naturally drifts towards the enigmatic Sauer Castle right here in KCK. Nestled in the heart of Kansas City, Kansas, it's a place where time has spun its own tales amid the echoes of a bygone era. Sauer Castle, a true architectural marvel with a rich history dating back to the 19th century, stands as a sentinel to the past, guarding secrets that have sparked spine-tingling urban legends for generations. In this blog post, we'll dive headfirst into the mysterious world of Sauer Castle, alongside insights from its current owners, the Heitmann family. Together, we'll explore his encounters with the paranormal, ongoing restoration efforts, and the exciting future that awaits this iconic castle.
History of Sauer Castle:
This Italianate masterpiece, designed by the renowned architect Asa Beebe Cross, was constructed between 1871 and 1873. A symbol of architectural prowess and grace, Sauer Castle is steeped in history and lore. Anton Sauer, the original resident, embarked on an extraordinary journey that culminated in the creation of this splendid estate. At the tender age of eighteen and a half, he journeyed from Vienna, Austria, alongside his beloved Francesca. Together, they breathed life into Sauer Castle and nurtured a legacy that would stand the test of time. The Sauer family eventually grew to include five children, though only 4 survived to maturity. Anton Sauer lived in the home until his death in 1879, after which, 5 generations of the Sauer Family graced the castle's hallowed halls with their presence until 1955, when the home was bought by the owner of a home heating oil company. He lived in the home until his own death in 1986. Each brick and stone of this architectural gem bore witness to their joys and sorrows, their triumphs and tribulations.
The Heitmann's Journey with Sauer Castle:
Mike Heitmann first learned about Sauer Castle through media coverage that highlighted the previous owner, who happened to be the great, great grandson of the castle's original resident, Anton Sauer. This historical gem, purchased by the previous owner in the late 1980s with the intention of restoring it and preserving it within the family, had faced numerous challenges. Over the years, the community sadly witnessed the slow decay of this magnificent castle. Recognizing its profound significance to the KCK community, Heitmann embarked on a heartfelt mission to breathe new life into the castle and restore its former glory.
"Many people have reached out to me with stories of their experiences around the castle," says Heitmann. "I've also met several individuals who have lived in the castle or the caretaker's home. These stories are always fascinating to hear and create a deeper connection with the home."
While Heitmann primarily focuses on the history of the Sauer Family and the quality of Sauer Castle's unique architecture, he acknowledges the allure of local legends and ghost stories that add intrigue to the Castle. These stories include the tale of a woman who hanged herself in the tall tower, a deranged husband who allegedly murdered his entire family in Sauer Castle and buried them in the backyard before taking his own life, rumors of buried treasure and bodies, and the existence of a secret tunnel that purportedly leads to the river.
Regarding these stories, Heitmann adds, "I get asked a lot of questions about underground tunnels, but I haven't found any yet."
Neighborhood residents claim to have seen floating lights in the tower and on the grounds, as well as to have heard voices from within the house when no one is residing there. The widow's walk is said to be haunted by the apparition of a woman who paces it in black, and on Halloween, a man and a woman can allegedly be seen dancing in the tower.
In terms of his own paranormal experiences, Heitmann shares, "We heard some knocking one time, and there was nobody at the door. One of the workers said he saw someone walk by in his peripheral vision when working in the basement."
Future of Sauer Castle:
While the final use of the Castle is yet to be determined, Heitmann envisions it becoming a focal point for the community after the construction is completed in the next 1-2 years. "I'd like it to be a source of pride for the community, a place where people can learn about the Sauer history, host important events, and get a taste of what it feels like to live in a 'castle,'" he says. With its rich history, undeniable charm, and mysterious aura, Sauer Castle's future shines brightly on the horizon, promising an exciting journey for generations to come.