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Blog for Victoria Bennett Beyer Photography

The photography blog of Victoria Bennett Beyer, featuring travel photographs from road trips across America and botanical photography of plants, flowers and leaves.

Boldt Castle, New York

Victoria Beyer

It’s tough to get a good picture of the mansion, because of all the lovely trees surrounding it.

It’s tough to get a good picture of the mansion, because of all the lovely trees surrounding it.

The island was originally Hart Island, and I learned hart is another word for stag. So there are stags adorning parts of the castle and the grounds.

The island was originally Hart Island, and I learned hart is another word for stag. So there are stags adorning parts of the castle and the grounds.

The castle is surrounded by lovely gardens.

The castle is surrounded by lovely gardens.

We drove up through The Thousand Islands region of New York, along the St. Lawrence Seaway. We didn’t have any particular plans, so we got some brochures as we stopped here and there, and we decided we had to see Boldt Castle in person. It’s a quick boat ride from Alexandria Bay to the island where famed hotelier George Boldt built a dream house for his wife, Louise, on Heart Island. When she died suddenly, just months before the house’s completion, he sent all the workers home and never stepped foot on the island again. The mansion fell into ruin for the next 77 years, until The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority purchased it and began to restore it.

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A portrait of Louise Boldt hangs over the fireplace.

A portrait of Louise Boldt hangs over the fireplace.

The inside is just as majestic as the outside of this grand house. With the original plans, the first two floors of have been restored.

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Grandpa takes a photo of a map of the area.

Grandpa takes a photo of a map of the area.

The top floors have not been restored, which shows just how much work had to be done. There are unopened crates with building supplies that were abandoned when all construction ceased. And there is graffiti everywhere from the years when it was empty - clearly this was a place for local kids to go hang out.

The power house is a castle in and of itself.

The power house is a castle in and of itself.

The water has risen past where it was in 1900 when construction began, and you can see that it has intruded into some of the structures on the island, including the power house, shown above. The children’s ‘play house,’ another mini-castle, has water flooding the bowling alley. It’s sad to see the areas that have been loving restored being damaged again, but the house sits higher up on the middle of the island, and so far is out of reach of the St. Lawrence River.