Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bannerman's Island

I just took a visit to Bannerman's Castle; an odd structure on an island with a rich history located in the Hudson River about 90 minutes north of New York City.

Since the time of the revolution there have been only five owners of Pollepel Island, now known more familiarly as Bannerman's Island.

In November 1900, gilded age businessman and arms dealer, Francis Bannerman VI purchased the island for use as a storage facility for his growing surplus business.  His dangerous munitions stockpiles, stored in New York City warehouses, were no longer welcome in the densely populated area forcing his move to a more remote location.
This location proved dangerous as well after at least two explosions occurred on the island throughout its use.  On August 1920, 200 tons of shells and powder exploded in an ancillary structure, destroying a portion of the complex and blowing out building windows across the river in the city of Newburg.

Most of the building were devoted to the stores of army surplus but Bannerman built another castle in a smaller scale on top of the island near the main structure as a residence.
One of the only remaining turrets of the false harbor that once surrounded the island.
Bannerman's sales of military weapons to civilians declined during the early 20th century as a result of state and federal legislation. By 1950 the arsenal and island were essentially left vacant. The island and buildings were bought by New York State in 1967, after the old military merchandise had been removed, and tours of the island were given in 1968.
On August 8, 1969, fire devastated the Arsenal, and the roofs and floors were destroyed.The island was placed off-limits to the public. During the week before Sunday, December 28, 2009, parts of the castle collapsed. Officials estimate 30-40 percent of the structure's front wall and about half of the east wall collapsed.  The castle now stands as a ruin with only about half of the structure to remind us of its once glorious presence on the Island.
Today, the castle is property of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is mostly in ruins.

No comments:

Post a Comment