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Monthly Image: Bannerman’s Island Arsenal

We finally took the trip to Bannerman’s Island Arsenal:

Bannermans Island - Google Satellite View

Bannermans Island – Google Satellite View

Back in the day, the only way you could get there was by kayak and that just isn’t my style. Nowadays, the Bannerman Castle Trust runs weekend tour boats and that I can do.

The view from the dock:

Bannermans Island Arsenal - from dock

Bannermans Island Arsenal – from dock

All the pictures you’ll see of the buildings look the basically the same, because you cannot get off the tour route:

Bannermans Island - Building Collapse Zone sign

Bannermans Island – Building Collapse Zone sign

Of course, that fine might be irrelevant after they dig you out from under the rubble.

Struts hold the fragile walls in place, but it’s not long for this world:

Bannermans Island Arsenal - SW corner

Bannermans Island Arsenal – SW corner

You can tell that Frank Bannerman got exactly what he wanted in the way of architecture; the buildings bear an uncanny resemblance to his “make it look like this” sketches. In the normal course of a design-and-build project, somebody in the loop will suggest that, mmmm, Boss, you can’t actually build it that way. In this case, the normal course of events went along the lines of “Sir? Yes, Sir!”

Money changes everything.

Their summer house sits dead center in the island with a commanding view of the Hudson to the south. Again, you can tell it looked just exactly like he wanted:

Bannermans Island - House

Bannermans Island – House

The natural state of Pollepel Island was barren rock; they hauled in all the soil when Mrs. Bannerman wanted flower gardens around the house.

That crack in the northwest tower can’t possibly be a Good Thing:

Bannermans Island Arsenal - W wall

Bannermans Island Arsenal – W wall

Back in late 2005, the castle looked marginally better:

Bannermans Island Arsenal - 2005-10-22

Bannermans Island Arsenal – 2005-10-22

That was from a small boat in the middle of the Hudson.

In the unlikely event you’re in the area, take the trip: it’s worthwhile just to see what one man’s obsession looks like. Wear one more layer than you think necessary, put on your lug-soled boots, and realize that nobody’s going to visit the ruins of your summer house a century from now…

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  1. #1 by Trudi on 2014-11-15 - 10:05

    In the 1950’s and early ‘1960’s, my family passed by that island many times… on a boat. This was before it burned. It was always a mysterious and forbidden place. Nice to get a close up look.

    • #2 by Ed on 2014-11-15 - 17:37

      a mysterious and forbidden place

      It’s been the backdrop for several movies & videos over the decades, whenever they need that special “ruins of a long-abandoned castle” vibe.

      And it’s definitely forbidden, in the sense that they’ve posted No Trespassing / Docking signs, but it seems vandals can’t read… [sigh]

  2. #3 by Red County Pete on 2014-11-15 - 10:26

    Places like this and the “Winchester Mystery House” in San Jose remind me that if one has enough money, it’s not insanity, merely eccentricity. [grin] (WMH has some gorgeous stained glass and woodwork in it–has been run as a tourist attraction for years.)

    • #4 by Ed on 2014-11-15 - 17:38

      if one has enough money, it’s not insanity, merely eccentricity

      So that’s what I need to level up. I’m on it!