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Report - Bannerman's Castle/Military Arsenal, Hudson River NY. 9/2008

CaptainJack

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Bannerman’s Island is located in the Hudson River about 50 miles north of New York City and 1000 feet offshore. Although it is now owned by the State of NY there is no public access due to the deteriorated condition of the building. It’s a place I’ve wanted to get to since I was a little kid and read about it in National Geographic Magazine.

MadMan who occasionally explores with members of the Stooges is involved in building preservation and this is his photo set.He is soley responsible for its content.


The castle's builder, Frank Bannerman VI, was a Scottish patriot, very proud of his descent from one of the few Macdonald's to survive the massacre at Glencoe in 1692. During the 1690's, the King of England demanded allegiance from the Scottish clans. Legend has it that the Macdonald clan was slow to give the British their oath of loyalty. Acting on behalf of the Crown, a rival clan, the Campbells, slaughtered all Macdonald males ages 12-70. One escaped to the hills with the clan banner -- and from that day on, his family name was Bannerman.

In 1900 Frank Bannerman, by then a very successful arms merchant who supplied U.S and international armies with guns and equipment, bought the Island. During the next 17 years, Frank Bannerman personally designed the island's buildings, docks, turrets, garden walls and moat in the style of old Scottish castles. Almost all of it was done without professional help from architects, engineers and contractors. And all of it was elaborately decorated, from biblical quotations cast into all fireplace mantles, to a shield between the towers with a coat of arms, and a wreath of thistle leaves and flowers
Bannerman Island was primarily a warehouse, storing a vast amount of war weapons and explosives. Also scattered about were invaluable relics such as the chain placed across the river at West Point during the Revolution , a table owned by General Washington, and arctic equipment Admiral Perry used on his trip to the North Pole. Millions of fascinated travelers passed by on the railroad and the Dayliner River Steamboat; their access was barred by armed guards, watch dogs, warning signs and red flags.

Bannerman died in 1918 and the business continued into the 1960s. At that point the Island was sold to the State of NY to be used as a park. A huge fire in 1969 reduced the buildings to shells and the Island has been closed to the public every since.

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