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Bannerman Castle History

Bannerman Castle is located on Pollepel Island along the Hudson River. Too many, Bannerman Castle is located on also known as "Bannerman Island" near both Beacon & Fishkill, New York.

Bannerman Castle is about 50 miles of New York City. The principal feature on the island is Bannerman's Castle, an abandoned military surplus warehouse. One side of the castle carries the words "Bannerman's Island Arsenal". It was built in the style of a castle by Gilded Age businessman Francis Bannerman VI (1851–1918), who had purchased the island in 1901. The name pollepel is a Dutch word meaning "(wooden) ladle". The Bannerman Castle Trust organization, however, ascribes the name to a folklore tale about a young girl named Polly Pell becoming stranded on the island.

Too most, it's crumbling hulk of intricate concrete and brickwork that was once Bannerman's Arsenal. In 1900, Francis Bannerman VI bought the island to store ammunition for his prosperous military surplus business; more specifically, when he bought 90% of the US army surplus after the Spanish-American War ended and needed a place outside of New York City to store it all. The arsenal (sometimes referred to as "Bannerman's Castle") was constructed from 1901 to 1908, and was modeled similar to the architecture of an old Scottish castle.

A storm in 1950 sunk the ferryboat that served the island, Pollepel, and the arsenal was left more or less abandoned since then. On August 8th, 1969 a large fire destroyed much of the buildings. Neglect of the already burned and rotting wood roofs caused the deterioration of almost all the buildings except for the remaining stone walls. Submerged bulkheads and other structures make the surrounding area very dangerous for boaters; the island remains private property and is watched closely by preservation groups.

On the night of December 26th 2009, an estimated 35% of the entire front wall and east corner wall of the massive arsenal collapsed due to the weathering of the aging mortar and unprotected bricks.

Today, the castle is property of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is mostly in ruins. While the exterior walls still stand, all the internal floors and non-structural walls have since burned down. The island has been the victim of vandalism, trespass, neglect and decay. Several old bulkheads and causeways that submerge at high tide present a serious navigational hazard. On-island guided hard hat tours were recently made available through the Bannerman's Castle Trust. The castle is easily visible to the riders of the Metro-North Railroad's Hudson line and Amtrak. The sign is easily visible to southbound riders.

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