Boldt Castle, located on Heart Island (New York) in the Thousand Islands of the Saint Lawrence River, along the northern border of New York State, is a major landmark and tourist attraction in its region.

Boldt Castle was built at the turn of the century by multi-millionaire George C. Boldt for his wife, Louise, as a testimony of the unsurpassed love of a man for his wife.

Mr. Boldt came to America in the 1860’s from Prussia, the son of poor parents. A man of tremendous industry and organizational skill, with daring and imagination, he became the most successful hotel magnate in America. He owned the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, and the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia, Pennsysvania. He was the president of several other companies, a trustee of Cornell University, and the director of the Hotel Association of New York. For Boldt, to “dream” and to “do” were synonymous. And Boldt Castle stands as an eternal monument not only of a man’s love for his wife, but also as a reminder that what a man’s mind can conceive, his heart can accomplish. George Boldt was one man whose dreams, however fantastic, proved to be within his capacity to achieve.

Beginning in 1900, Boldt’s family shared four glorious summers on the island in the Alster Tower while 300 workers including stonemasons, carpenters, and artists fashioned the six story, 120 room castle, complete with tunnels, a powerhouse, Italian gardens, a drawbridge, and a dove cote. Not a single detail or expense was spared.

In 1904, tragedy struck. Boldt telegraphed the island and commanded the workers to immediately “stop all construction.” Louise had died suddenly. A broken hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his beloved. Boldt never returned to the island, leaving behind the structure as a monument of his love.

Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property in 1977, it was decided that through the use of all net revenues from the castle operation it would be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.

Since 1977, several million dollars have been applied to rehabilitating, restoring and improving the Heart Island structures.

Wander in awe as you explore the Castle’s 120 rooms, and try to imagine how they might have been luxuriously furnished and used in all their splendor, if Louise Boldt had not died so early. Gaze out the Castle’s 365 windows that overlook the magnificent beauty of the Thousand Islands. And imagine the gaiety and parties that might have been held in the castle and the surrounding gardens.

The first level of the Castle has been turned into a museum, filled with exhibits dedicated to the lives of George and Louise Boldt and the development of the Thousand Island region.

Stroll the paved walkways that traverse the island leading to the Castle, the Power House, Alster Tower, the Hennery, and the Gazebo.


~ by ferry1984 on August 23, 2011.

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