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.