Sell a little pizza here, a little fried chicken there. Before you know it, those comestibles add up to a castlelike mansion in the unlikely locale of Fort Wayne, IN. Now this former home of fast-food impresario Dick Freeland is on the market for a cool $30 million, making it the most expensive home listed in the Hoosier State.
Freeland made his fortune owning Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets, eventually becoming chairman of Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne. He and his wife built the massive 29,331-square-foot home, known as Freeland Castle, in 1997 on 50 acres that include a 7-acre lake.
The home features 16 bedrooms, 26 bathrooms, and 16 fireplaces. The property includes a total of 10 buildings with an additional 8,000-square-foot house and 6,720-square-foot stables that include a guest suite.
"Built by craftsmen equivalent to those employed by the Astors or Vanderbilts, this stone mansion has all the elegance and grandeur of a bygone era," writes agent Marilyn Hoffman in the property listing.
Indeed, the interior is a throwback to mansions of the Gilded Age with elegant wood paneling in the dining room, a massive chef's kitchen, impressive pillars in the dramatic entry hall, an enclosed atrium sitting room, and a game room with pool, table tennis, and foosball tables.
The home's price tag dwarfs that of other noteworthy Indiana mansions, including this $6.5 million property listed for sale last year and the home of real estate magnate Mel Simon that went on the market for $25 million in 2014.
Freeland and his home were both local legends. Active in politics, Freeland reportedly hosted the Bush family at the home. When Freeland died of cancer in 2013, the state governor issued a statement: "Dick Freeland lived the American dream. … His contributions to the city of Fort Wayne and to the state of Indiana will be remembered always."
And his castle will certainly remain a local landmark -- one where perhaps a new owner will host a gala pizza party or two in Freeland's honor.