The Castle Farm (a.k.a. Martin Castle) - Versailles, KY
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member BluegrassCache
N 38° 02.654 W 084° 39.226
16S E 705882 N 4213321
Quick Description: The Castle Farm, formerly known as Martin Castle is a true castle in the middle of horse country. Like all castles should, this one has a mysterious and sordid history. It is privately owned and can only be viewed from the road.
Location: Kentucky, United States
Date Posted: 11/11/2007 3:35:09 PM
Waymark Code: WM2JG2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member tiki-4
Views: 295

Long Description:
From the website (visit link)

The story behind the castle is as follows:

Rex and Caroline Bogaert Martin got the idea for the castle during a vacation in Europe. The Martins initially had trouble finding suitable acreage for the new home, but finally purchased 53 acres along U.S. 60 and Pisgah Pike. Plans were drawn in 1968 and ground was broken the next year. But in 1975, while the castle was still under construction, the Martins divorced. Whether the castle's progress had anything to do with the separation is part of its mystery. Divorce records give only an oblique reference to the castle acreage.

When finished, the castle was to have seven bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. There was supposed to be an Italian fountain in the driveway, and tennis courts. But the castle was never finished. In the mid-1980s, a turret on the southwest corner tower tilted. It was repaired, and several smaller turrets were erected within the castle walls.

In 1990, Rex Martin had prospective buyers who wanted to use the castle as a museum or an art gallery. He sought to change the zoning of nearly 36 acres from A-1 agricultural to P-1 for professional uses. At the time, Lexington attorney Bill Jacobs, who represented Martin, argued that the character of the neighborhood around the castle had changed and that the property was no longer usable as a residence. The professional zoning would have allowed the building's use as a museum. Residents of the Pisgah community, a historic district north of the castle, opposed the rezoning, saying Martin's request was too vague. Shortly thereafter, Martin withdrew the request for the zone change. In a July 1990 letter to the chairman of the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission, he wrote: "I would like to express my desire to have this petition re-addressed by the commission at a time when I have a definite purchaser and a definite usage."

Over the years there have been rumors that the castle would be used as a tobacco museum or a hillbilly museum. But members of the Pisgah Historic District would scrutinize any rezoning attempts because they don't want a high-rise building or other commercial property that would detract from the area's stone-walled horse farms, Allen said. "We would like for him to do something with it in keeping with the district," said Toss Chandler, a member of the Pisgah Historic Community Association. Lord, the visitors bureau director, said people have had all kinds of suggested uses for the building. "A lot of them see it as having something to do with children or that has a children's focus," he said. Others have suggested that it might be a good site for a medieval-style restaurant similar to those of Medieval Times, a chain that features jousting knights, sword-fighting and four-course banquets.

Once Kentucky native Lee Majors of The Six Million Dollar Man fame was said to have bought the castle. That was untrue. Another time, actor Sylvester Stallone allegedly wanted to film a scene for a movie there. Never happened. Cypress wood gates with lion heads trimmed in gold foil keep would-be visitors at bay. And that secrecy has given way to plenty of legends. It's been rumored that Rock Hudson and Lee Majors wanted to buy it.

Over the years, the castle has become a favorite place for tourists to snap photos and it has even caught the attention of Queen Elizabeth and her entourage. But the queen's secretary's assessment was anything but royal. He was quoted as describing the castle as "an Americanized Mickey Mouse castle," and that they "expected Donald Duck to look over the ramparts at anytime."

In fact, from the concrete curtain wall to the symmetrical layout, Bryant says the castle is very ... un-castle-like. "The cupolas which are on the towers, the turrets if you will, on the four corners are of aluminum and every so often the wind will blow them off, and they do not hold paint at all."

2007 Update on Castle Farm:

Mr. Martin died a few years ago and the sale (which had been as elusive as Mr. Martin for so many years) was in the hands of a lawyer. Another lawyer, Thomas Post, of Miami, Florida purchased the castle and firm plans for the future of it remain to be seen.

In 2004 there was a fire at the Castle, the Arson investigation believed it was caused by a welder's work.

The castle was scheduled to open in November 2007, but is now scheduled to open in April 2008. No tours are allowed due to insurance reasons. From the road you can see that work is on-going.

Accessibility: No access- Private

Condition: Partly ruined

Website: [Web Link]

Admission Charge?: Not Listed

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