Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 14, 2013

Historic home for sale

Aviator led colorful life

By Brenda L. Holmes

INDIANAPOLIS — Aviation history buffs know Roscoe Turner as a speed demon with a flair for showmanship. Turner broke speed records in the 1930s and later established an institute to train pilots. He spent the last 20 years of his life living in his home on West 10th Street that is now on the market.

The home is now owned by Freddie Mac and is listed for $137,368 and has an offer pending. In April 2007, the  home sold for $395,000. The home has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a garage. The lot is 116,000 square feet and the home is 5,716 square feet.

Realtor Reita Mills has shown the home more than 25 times since May. With 40 years of experience in real estate, she said showing this home has been “interesting.”

“Some people want to see it because they know who Turner was,” she said. “And they have stories. I heard one person say that Marilyn Monroe stayed here.”

She said there were three or four other offers on the home, but they all fell through.

The stately three-story home was built in 1900 and still uses boiler heat. There are also fireplaces in many of the rooms. Many of the rooms have hardwood floors but there is carpeting on the third floor where there is a large great room.

When Turner moved into his Indianapolis home, he was in his 50s and had lived an exciting life as an aviator. Born Sept. 25, 1895, in Corinth, Miss., he was fascinated by speed, according to the National Aviation Hall of Fame website.

Turner enlisted in the Ambulance Corps and was sent to France during World War I. He was transferred to the aviation section just before the ending of the war and he didn’t see combat.

In 1919, Turner and a partner formed the Roscoe Turner Flying Circus and performed death-defying performances. He then moved on to Hollywood where he became a movie stuntman and actor in the Howard Hughes film, “Hell’s Angels.” He played the role of a British airman.

Turner then turned to speed flying and entered the 1928 National Air Races. A year later, he helped organize Nevada Airlines, operating between Los Angeles, Reno, and Las Vegas.

In 1930, Turner bought a lion cub named “Gilmore” and they began flying together. The pair set an East-West record flight between Canada and Mexico. The two flew together for the next decade, making a name for themselves.

In 1940, Turner established the Roscoe Turner Aeronautical Corporation in Indianapolis and opened an aviation school. He helped train flight instructors, pilots, and mechanics to help with the war effort during World War II.

Turner continued to contribute to the development of aviation through his school and aircraft sales through the 1950s and ‘60s.

He and his wife, Madonna, hosted several events at their home on West 10th Street.

Turner died June 23, 1970, at the age of 74. He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.

For more information on the property, visit the Wood Realty Group website at www.woodrlty.com.