We finally took the trip to Bannerman’s Island Arsenal:
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:
All the pictures you’ll see of the buildings look the basically the same, because you cannot get off the tour route:
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:
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:
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:
Back in late 2005, the castle looked marginally better:
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…