Graceland isn’t the strangest or most unusual home in the Orlando area. (Come on now – does that really surprise you?) Here are four more properties in Orlando that are anything but conventional.
1. The Walker Family house
Tyree Lane, Winter Park
After serving 25 years in the Air Force, intelligence officer Grover C. Walker found himself demoted from the rank of captain to staff sergeant in 1962. He says he found himself performing menial duties in his new assignments, and soon began to suspect corruption among his superiors. He was quickly hustled out of service under less-than-ideal circumstances, and in response, he turned his house into a protest: He erected five massive flag poles from which he flew inverted American flags, and he posted billboards and placards in his front yard explaining his complaint. He repainted his house to look like a battleship at first, though it has since been repainted with stars and stripes. Although Walker has died – he passed away in 2005 – his family still owns the house and continues to use it to protest such things as the Obama presidency and the Affordable Care Act.
6121 Kirkstone Lane, Windermere
In a stunning illustration of market volatility and epic overreach, David and Jackie Siegel – whose story was told in the 2010 movie Queen of Versailles – set about building their dream home late in 2007. When the economy tanked, however, the business upon which the Siegels had built their empire, Westgate Resorts, experienced a recession of its own. As did the Siegels. They put their plans to complete the 90,000-square-foot, 13-bedroom, 23-bath re-creation of the French palace of Versailles on hold. It went up for sale partially finished, but never found a buyer. The Siegels have since rebounded from their financial troubles, have taken the home off the market and are currently finishing it. They say they hope it’ll be complete by late 2015.
3. Castle House
5060 Down Point Lane, Windermere
We don’t know the story behind this 5,200-square-foot, stormy-gray-colored Windermere home, but real estate photos do tell quite a story – the house appears to be built to resemble a feudal castle, both inside and out. From the elaborately tiled bathrooms to the dark and dark-colored chandeliers to the Gothic-arched entryway and wrought-iron details, this house is a Dungeons & Dragons-lover’s dream come true.
4. Xanadu, Home of the Future
This so-called “home of the future” was constructed in Kissimmee in the early 1980s to showcase early home-automation features. Its unique construction was achieved by pouring polyurethane foam over large balloons, which gave the home a bizarrely bubble-shaped appearance. It was billed as a tourist attraction, and at its peak it entertained 1,000 visitors per day. But the popularity of the house waned as the technology it hosted grew antiquated. It was closed in 1996 but remained a run-down local landmark until it was finally torn down in 2005 after years of abandonment and neglect.