Autumn is the perfect backdrop for a visit to the abandoned Bannerman’s Castle, on 6.5 acre Pollepel Island in the Hudson River, near Newburgh, NY. Tours are operated by the Bannerman Castle Trust and proceeds go to the preservation and restoration of this amazing historic treasure. Check out their website to find a tour.
The castle was built in 1900 by Francis Bannerman VI of Brooklyn, NY as an arsenal for his massive collection of arms and artillery, which is the business that grew his forture. The architecture is inspired by Scottish castles as Mr. Bannerman immigrated during childhood with his parents from Scotland.
The castle and island have many legends attached to them. The island was uninhabited until Bannerman purchased it. Early Dutch settlers and Native Americans, allegedly feared the island for supernatural reasons. Likely this is due to an unusually strong and unpredictable current that exists around the island making it very challenging to row in and out of it’s waters.
Mr. Bannerman died in 1918 and by 1950 the island was no longer inhabited by his family or his business. In the late 1960’s the island was purchased by New York State and tours were given to the public. Sadly a fire broke out and destroyed most of the castle. The island was then closed until the Bannerman Island Trust began caring for it in the late 1980’s.