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The Guns and Goblins of Bannerman’s Castle

Frank Bannerman bought an island in the Hudson River in New York to store his growing stock of military surplus goods and arms. He needed to build a warehouse anyway, so he made it a castle reminiscent of those he remembered from his childhood in Scotland, complete with a drawbridge and a moat. That was 100 years ago, and the castle is still standing -sort of.

I was frustrated that I couldn’t get closer than a few hundred yards and peak into the rooms now open to the sky. It seemed odd that a huge stone structure barely a century old could be in ruins, but there’s an inherent weakness in all military storehouses: the contents. The Arsenal was devastated by an explosion of its own gun powder in 1920. It was injured again in 1969 when peacenik hippies accidentally started a fire, and then in 2010 when a brutal Catskill winter collapsed two walls.

The house Bannerman built for his family is a bit more modest, but still impressive, and strangely close to the munitions warehouse. Take a tour of Bannerman’s Castle and the island it sits on at History Buff.  


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