Here’s a view of Boldt Castle on the USA side of the 1000 Islands, St. Lawrence River. This was one of the highlights of the 1000 Islands Cruise that Jenn and I went on a couple weeks ago! The large building in front is the power house, the main Castle is in the center and on the left point of the island is a kids playhouse!
George Boldt, proprietor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in New York City, and his family for several summers enjoyed an earlier frame cottage on Hart Island (the original name) which they greatly expanded. In 1900 the Boldts launched an ambitious construction campaign to build a huge masonry structure, one of the largest private homes in America. They engaged the architectural firm G. W. & W. D. Hewitt and hundreds of workers for a six-story "castle", a major international landmark. In addition four other masonry structures on the island are architecturally notable. Equally distinctive is a huge yacht house on a neighboring island where the Boldts had another summer home and a vast estate, incorporating farms, canals, a golf course, tennis courts, stables, and a polo field.
The construction of Boldt Castle ceased abruptly in early 1904 after the death of Boldt’s wife, Louise Kehrer Boldt. For 73 years, the castle and other stone structures were left exposed to the harsh winter weather and occasional vandals. The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired Heart Island and the nearby yacht house in 1977, for one dollar, under the agreement that all revenues obtained from the castle operation would be applied towards restoration, so that the island would be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. In the two decades after acquiring the property, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority spent some fifteen million dollars for restoration and improvements here, and work continues annually. The initial goal of the restoration of Heart Island was not to finish what had not been completed, but to restore the island to the state it was in when construction was halted. Improvements have gone beyond that stage, however; a stained glass dome, marble floor, and grand staircase woodwork, for instance, now seen in the main hall, were not original but are modern innovations.
Thousand Islands Salad Dressing was invented by Boldt’s personal chef.
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