We took a boat trip on the St. Lawrence Seaway through the Thousand Islands … actually; there are 1,864 islands in the river north of Lake Ontario. There are three conditions to be classified as an island: (a) it must be at least 3’ x 3’ in size, (b) it must have at least one tree or bush growing on it and (c) it must remain above water 365 days a year.
a quaint, tourist town which booms in summer and is knee-deep in snow with few residents in the winter.
Each appraised for tax purposes at no less than 10% if its fair market value
Mating Pair with Nestlings
Boathouse with a slip 18′ by 125′ was built for the 100′ steam yacht. The boathouse also contains the original powerhouse with generator room, battery room, water and fire pumps and screw jacks to raise the yacht from the water for winter storage.
and their children with an island ‘hunting’ retreat. He purchased the 7 acre Dark Island and had designed and built the castle originally known as “The Towers” for a cost of $500,000.
He engaged Ernest Flagg, one of America’s leading architects, designed the Castle after inspiration from Sir Walter Scott’s 1832 novel about Woodstock Castle in Scotland.
Tons of granite quarried from nearby Oak Island were brought over ice and water in 1902-1904 to construct Singer Castle. Italian stonecutters were engaged to shape the granite for the 4-story, 28-room castle, 4-story Tower, and an elaborate boathouse (one of three) which housed a workshop and powerhouse and one of Bourne’s steam-powered vessels, the tunnels, turrets and other curious architectural details including a 2-story ice house – essential for fine entertaining at the turn of the century, dungeons and underground passageways. As a testament to their skill, none of the stones carved at the quarry needed to be reworked once they arrived on Dark Island.
Jutting up behind the southern boathouse stands the now 5-story Clock Tower with four 6′ diameter clock faces. This functioning timepiece has Westminster Chimes that sound every 15 minutes.
Moreover, over 2,000 loads of topsoil were brought from Canada to cover the eight acres of rock.
“The Towers”, served as the perfect setting for entertaining Bourne’s contemporaries, personalities no less famous as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Vincent Astor.
If the outside was imposing, the interior was equally as impressive. The interior furnishings include Italian hand-carved ornate tables and chairs, wrought-iron chandelier, brass lamps, oak cabinets, bronze work, lithographs, paintings.
Entrance Room with a Medieval Theme … Including several suits of armor
Formal Dining Room
Library with its walnut-paneled walls has a secret panel to the left of the fireplace connecting to passages inside the walls. The room also contains many old and original books, including a second edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”
Loggia (A place to which the ladies can retire while the men are in the Smoking Room) Room
Men’s Smoking Room with items important to Mr. Bourne’s life and interests
Grates for spying on guests are built into the walls in many rooms.
As well as some very unique appliances:
Early electric light sauna
The Castle remained in the possession of the original Bourne family from its construction in 1905 until the mid-1960’s.
For a mere $750 per night, one can rent the “Royal Suite” plus $60/per person for up to 6 additional guests. This gives them the privilege of not only staying overnight but also indulging in a catered dinner followed by a private tour of the castle, including rooms and passageways not open to the general public and a continental breakfast the following morning. Sounds like a great time if you’ve some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket and don’t believe in ghosts!
At the turn-of-the-century, George C. Boldt, millionaire proprietor of the world famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, set out to build a full size Rhineland castle in Alexandria Bay, on picturesque Heart Island. The grandiose structure was to be a display of his love for his wife, Louise.
Beginning in 1900, the Boldt family spent summers in the 1000 Islands at the nearby Boldt family’s Wellesley House while 300 workers including stonemasons, carpenters, and artists fashioned the 6-story, 120-room castle,
Staircase looking up from Main Hall
Clover (daughter) Boldt’s Bedroom
The Arch, modeled after Roman monuments, this water gate was to be the formal entry for launches. It stones were cut and delivered for double rows of columns which would enclose a covered walkway extending from each side.
Bourne was fond of fast automobiles and speed boats and like to travel at a very fast pace; he was once arrested for driving 25 mph in New York in his 1906 Mercedes! He commissioned designs for a number of steam vessels, some of which can be seen at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton located just ½ mile across the water from the castle.
In January 1904, tragedy struck. Boldt telegraphed the island and commanded the workers to immediately “stop all construction.” Louise had died suddenly. A broken hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his beloved. He never returned to the island, leaving behind the structure as a monument of his love.
In 1977 the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired ownership of Heart Island and has plowed millions of dollars into the rehabilitation of the facility … an endeavor which continues to the present.
which, while they silently buzz around you and seem to find endless ways into your RV, they do not bite and generally live for only a day or so. Thus, in the morning, we’ll find their corpses in the window tracks, table and shower stall.