On the outskirts of the city, Glenn Turner’s castle still stands tall in its grandiose glory. And it can be yours for $1.8 million.
When you walk up the driveway at 4082 Scarlet Iris Place, it’s like jumping straight into a fairytale.
You check your everyday normalities at the gate before standing in front of the behemoth, its white Georgia granite exterior shining in the sunlight.
The main portion of the building is wide and round, while the top features a design that is fort-like in nature. Attached to the side stands connected a lone, cylindrical tower that contains a stairwell on the inside.
But what exactly is this place? And how did a castle end up getting dropped next to Bear Gully Lake on the outskirts of Winter Park? The answer comes down to one man — Glenn Turner.
THE MAN IN THE CASTLE
“This guy, Glenn Turner, grew up and was dirt poor — so it was like a rags-to-riches story of how he became a multi-millionaire,” said Dawn Tinder, a real-estate agent with Keller Williams Winter Park. “He was an entrepreneur, and he got really rich with this company called Koscot, which is a makeup company, and because he became so wealthy doing it he developed ‘Dare to Be Great’ seminars to teach people how to take nothing and turn it into something big.”
Life was tough for Turner before he attained his success. Turner was born in 1934 into poverty in South Carolina to an unwed mother.
Straight away, Turner had more struggles than just being poor. Thanks to his mother’s case of prenatal scarlet fever, Turner was born with a cleft palate and a hair lip. Although he underwent surgery, the scars were obvious, and he was picked on throughout school. The bullying got so bad that Turner eventually dropped out in the eighth grade.
From there, he had a short stint in the U.S. Air Force before being medically discharged, and then went on to Opportunity School — a school for those who had dropped out of school.
After successfully finishing, Turner started in sales before he was introduced to a cosmetic sales company called Holiday Magic. Turner went on to start his own cosmetic marketing company in Orlando — Koscot.
But the question still remains: Why would a man who came from nothing want to build a castle and a matching boathouse? As it turns out, Turner was a bit of an eccentric, Tinder said.
“He wore red suits and was flashy and drove Cadillacs and was all about himself,” Tinder said. “He would hold these seminars and run in front of everyone and yell, ‘Money! Money!’ He was all about getting everybody’s attention.”
If Turner was looking to grab attention, the castle and the boathouse, which were both built in 1972, certainly were a good way of doing it — although Turner wasn’t able to enjoy it for long.
The flamboyant businessman found himself in legal trouble in Florida during the 1970s, when Turner pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating securities laws in exchange for the government dropping felony charges.
Then in 1985, Turner was jailed in Arizona when he was convicted of running a pyramid scheme. After five years in prison, Turner was let free and got back to his work as a motivational speaker.
Despite the checkered part of his background, Turner’s castle continues to be a place that has fascinated the community dating back to its development in the 70s.
Although the larger castle itself was never completed and eventually fell victim to a likely arson in 1988, the lakeside home stands in great working shape and is perfect for entertaining guests, Tinder said.
The centerpiece of the 3,754-square-foot home is a large circular guest room that features a fireplace in the center of the room, alongside a bar/kitchen area and wall-sized windows that offer a view of the lake. There’s also a door that leads out to a wrap-around deck that actually hangs over the lake.
The three-bed, three-and-a-half bath home also includes three boat slips on the first floor that allow easy access to the lake for boats ands jet skis.
Along with the home itself, the $1.8 million price tag also includes a good chunk of land, which Tinder said could hold another whole home if the buyer wanted to add one.
Although there are plenty of bedrooms and could easily be used as a home, Tinder said she has been telling people that the castle is much more of an entertainment space than anything — which fits alongside the history and character of the castle’s creator.
“This is something like — ‘I have some extra money and I want to have parties here, I want to have a place where my visitors can come,” Tinder said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind kind of place.”