Boldt Castle
Heart Island, NY

July 16, 2001

While we stayed in Ontario we visited a small town (west of Toronto) called Rockport. It was in an area called "the 1000 islands". In the St. Lawrence River between the U.S. and Canada are 1834 islands of all shapes and sizes. Some were about as big as the inside of our trailer and some were very large, encompassing many acres. We learned from our tour guide that many of these islands are privately owned. We chose to take a tour of the river that included an hour's cruise of the islands and then we were returned to the dock only to get on another boat which took us out to an American Island that had the Boldt Castle on it. We arrived at Heart Island only to be greeted by an American customs officer who got on the boat, checked everyone's ID and then allowed us to disembark. Once we were off the boat we paid an admission fee and were able to wander around the Island and through the Castle. As we've traveled around North America it's fascinating how many castles or large homes were built because of a man's love for a woman. Our first of these was called The Coral Castle it was built in Homestead, Florida, and was built for unrequited love. A man became engaged in Poland to his sweetheart, who was considerably younger than he. At the last minute she changed her mind and broke off the engagement. He then came to the U.S. and decided that he would build a castle to her memory. The next type of castle that we saw was in Phoenix Arizona, called the Mystery Castle. This was built by a man in memory of his daughter. The Boldt Castle was built by George C. Boldt, the same man who was part of the building and running of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Mr. Boldt came to America in the 1860's from Prussia, the son of poor parents. He was a man of tremendous organizational skill, daring and imagination. He ultimately became the most successful hotel magnate in America, managing/profit sharing the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, and the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia. He was the president of several 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. Boldt Castle stands as an eternal monument to the memory of the man whose dreams were no more far-reaching than his capabilities, and a testimony of the unsurpassed love of a man for ALSTER TOWERhis wife. The magnificence of the structure was to be equaled only by George Boldt's adoration of Louise, who was the love of his life and reason for the construction of such an elaborate summer home. He bought the island from a man named Hart. He then proceeded to change the shape of the island so that it was actually Heart shaped, he then rebuilt the house that was there, just a little. The Castle still stands today like an ancient landmark of northern Europe. It is modeled after buildings of the 16th century, when newly revived classical details were applied to the towered, medieval forms, combining traditional elements with modern features such as large, plate glass windows and extensive verandas. Rising six stories from the foundation level of the indoor swimming pool to the highest tower room, an elevator served over 120 rooms. Steel and concrete roofs and floors provided fireproof construction. Massive granite walls were richly ornamented with decorative details of cast terra cotta, and roofs were tiled with the same material. After that he decided that he would build a number of other buildings on the Island. The first they built was called the Alster tower or children's playhouse. It contained a bowling alley, café, movie theater, kitchen, and was intended as a playhouse for their two children but could also be used for housing guests.

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