Standing guard at the 'castle' on Versailles Road, Woodford County. April 10, 2004. 5:49 p.m. EDT.
"castle" on US 60 between Lexington and Versailles has been a favorite oddity
in the Bluegrass since it was built by a man named Rex Martin Sr.
Martin was a successful real estate developer in Lexington during the 1960s-80s. He started building this castle on prime Woodford County farmland in the late 1960s after he and his wife took a vacation to Europe. As legend has it, Martin was so impressed with ancient castles of the Old Country that he decided to build a new one back home. Sometime during construction of the castle, Martin and his wife divorced. The castle was never completed and Martin moved to Florida. For years, the castle was for sale, technically. But according to a newspaper story from a few years ago, not even the real estate agent or potential buyers were ever allowed inside the place. It remained locked up, unfinished, with a security guard on duty at all times. The castle fell into disrepair; one of the turrets almost collapsed after a storm.
In August 2003, Rex Martin died at his home in Florida after suffering from Alzheimer's Disease for some years. Not long after the estate was settled later that year, a Miami attorney named Thomas Post bought the castle and the acreage around it for $1.8 million. According to local newspaper reports, Post is in the process of completing the castle, and plans to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast.
The above photo was taken on Bluegrass Stakes Day at Keeneland Racecourse, just up the road, and I assume the Posts were hosting a post-race party at the castle that evening. The young man in the colorful outfit was not a guard at all, of course. He was more like a parking valet with a spear.
Like so many other people who live in this area, I have driven past "Rex Martin's castle" hundreds of times in the last 30 years or so. Yet this was the first time I have ever seen the gates open.
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At the northeast corner of US 60 and Pisgah Pike, midway between Lexington and Versailles.
Woodford County is in the central part of the state, in a region known as the Inner Bluegrass.
|Posted April 24, 2004.|