The crumbling castle

bannerman's castle

The castle, as it was seen from the train in November 2009

You might have seen news during the last week of 2009 that part of Bannerman's Castle -- the castle-like structure that sits on an island in the Hudson near Storm King -- had collapsed. (You've probably seen the castle from the Amtrak train on the ride down to New York City -- it's just north of Cold Spring.)

This week comes news that the castle is continuing to fall apart. The island's preservation trust expects even more of the structure to come down through the winter.

Chuck Schumer says he's lobbying the federal Department of the Interior for money to help preserve the building.

Bannerman's Castle was constructed to serve as a military surplus warehouse during the first part of the 20th Century. It was sold to the state during the 1960s.

(Thanks, Duncan)

Comments

It's a shame, but most of the castle is probably beyond repair. It was not well built from the day of construction: Mr. Bannerman used cheap cement and reinforced the walls by dumping excess stock such as old bayonets and rifle barrels into the mix. The walls were weakened by fire (which was worsened by decades of spilled powder ground into the wood floors) and explosions as left over munitions went off in the inferno. The structure was compromised even before it was left to the elements.

The author of that website you linked to is the co-author of a book about Hudson Valley ruins. It's an amazing book and I recommend it to everyone. One of my favorite parts of that book is where the authors note that the 19th century artists who belonged to the Hudson River School of painters (Thomas Cole, Frederick Church, etc) lamented, in their day, that there weren't any ruins in the Hudson Valley. They had been to Greece and Italy and had cut their teeth on painting the romantic ruins of those fallen empires. Back home they had to settle on painting the romantic natural landscapes in our region. The funny thing is that they'd have a field day painting all the ruins around here today!

I blogged about Bannerman Castle today because I mentioned it a couple weeks ago in a blog I wrote and so many people clicked on the link.... It's so easy to see that it was once an impressive piece of architecture....

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