Tue. Jan 18th, 2022
Bannerman Castle

OOn the Pollepel Island and along Hudson River stands Bannerman Castle. The Bannerman Castle is situated on the so-called “Bannerman Island,” in Beacon & Fishkill, New York. It’s around 50 miles from Bannerman Castle in New York City. Bannerman’s Castle, an abandoned surplus military storage is the main feature of the island. The phrase “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal” exists over one side of the fortress.

History of the Bannerman Castle

Takling about histry of the Bannerman Castle, Pollepel, famous as Bannerman Island, is a little treasure in the backdrop of the Hudson Highlands. Once an abandoned location, reachable only by boat, it was assumed to have become a sanctuary for certain Indian tribes whom attempted to escape. Those beliefs and those that were afterwards popularized by Dutch sailors result in a lot of fantasy. Even just the name Pollepel came from the story of a young girl called Polly or pell who was heroically saved from the river ice, landed on the island coast, and immediately married to her beloved who saved her and his friend. The island was named Pollepel afterwards. In an effort to defend the highlands against the British navy in 1777 with its famed “chevaux de frise,” the history demonstrates the connection with the American Revolution. Those were all devices built of hardwood cribs, lowered in the river and loaded with metallic, sharp logs that block the transit of boats over the river by destroying the hulls, which were manufactured by personnel from the local jail command.

Nevertheless, the trial was failed when the British took flat boats and avoided the chevaux de frise. Another of the “points” is particularly visible in Newburgh, New York, Washington. Ever since revolution, approximately 5 owners have made donations to the citizens of the State of New York – William Van Wyck from Fishkill, Mary G. Taft of Cornwall, Francis Bannerman from Brooklyn, New York, and The Jackson Hole Preserve (Rockefeller Foundation) (Hudson Highlands State Park, Taconic Region, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.) Born in Dundee, Scotland in 185, Francis Bannerman aldo known as Frank immigrated to the United States at the age of three to stay in Brooklyn. His father started to sell merchandise at Navy auctions. Young Frank started collecting scraps from of the harbor and was still in school and afterwards packed of sailing ships. He succeeded so well that it soon became a company.


There at end of the war, by purchasing excess stock in governmental auctions, he expanded his products. Well after the Spanish American War this resource maintained. He ended up marrying Helen Boyce in 1872 on a purchase journey to Ireland. After that they were three children, who joined him at the shop Francis Vll and David Boyce and became a doctor a Walter. The Bannerman Castle was established in Brooklyn in 1865, all throughout the place known as “Bannerman’s.” Because more and more stuff was purchased, The Bannerman Castle relocated to Manhattan many times to reach 501 Broadway. Just too much equipment and weapons have been purchased from the Spanish War that the city’s rules compelled them to seek storage off the city boundaries. David Bannerman noticed the island by chance during the canoeing on the Hudson. In 1900, the Bannermans bought this as a secure storage facility from the family Taft. Bannerman started to build his own castle and small house in 1901, a mimicked Scottish castle. 

Machinery and ammunition were transported there for safekeeping until purchased in every description. Even though he was an ammunition salesman, Frank Bannerman portrayed himself as a peaceful man. Within his catalogues, he said that he desired that his arms collections would be known one day as the Lost Arts Museum. He was indeed a dedicated member of a church, a member of the Society of St. Andrews, creator of the Caledonian Hospital, and a boy’s club worker. He usually took boys to the island on a summer tour. He donated weapons, clothing and supplies to the US government throughout the First World War. The home on the island was used as a vacation home by Frank and Helen Bannerman. The family company continued out from the warehouse at Blue Point, Long Island up to the 1970s, and Francis Bannerman died in 1918. In 1967 Bannerman Castle was purchased to the state of New York by the family, who took ownership after removing all previous military goods and giving the Smithsonian treasures. Recalling Jane Bannerman, “The Manager of the Manhattan Shop shut down the island. He was loyal, but it was an enormous job. We always wanted to come back for personal stuff, such as Irish linens for my grandma.”


The city of New York had scheduled to establish the island as a park, and they went on tours through the island in 1968 for a short period. On August 8, 1969, however, all structures were damaged by a blazing fire of uncertain cause. It has since been declared off boundaries by the Taconic State Parks Commission. Bob Parker resided in Putnam County in the 1970s and he was attracted towards castle grounds by childhood days from the Bannerman catalogue. “My children and I kept a ship on the seashore in the reeds. For a couple of years, we had it there. Approximately 12 of us would leave each summer time for the wars with beebee guns to Bannerman. We were seeking for treasures, anything which might withstand the fire. We spotted cottages and a massive stack of bayonet scabbards. We were sure the large items were under fallen roofs that never moved, but without equipment we could not reach there.”

Jane Bannerman was one of only a few people who know the beautiful history of Bannerman Island personally. She realizes that the sole possibility of the castle is the Bannerman Castle Trust, who is developing the grand plan for the stability of the structures with the Taconic Park Commission. She’s reminding them, “Ultimately, it all goes down to money, and all will tumble down if they don’t rush. Greater damage is brought about every winter time.”

The Bannerman Castle Today

The Bannerman Castle is today owned and mainly housed in remains by the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Office. Although parts of the outside walls remain, all interior floors and non-structural walls have been burned to the ground ever since. Destruction of property, infringement, negligence and degradation were the casualties of the island. Numerous historic bulkheads and docks which flood at high tide are a severe navigation risk. Guided tours of the Islands through the Bannerman’s Castle Trust have just been made accessible. The castle is easy to see for travelers of the Hudson Line and Amtrak Empire Service and Adirondack metro-north track. On 19 April 2015, Angelika Graswald and her fiancé,Vincent Viafore, took the island for a kayaking vacation.


On 24 July 2017, she agreed to plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide, and has subsequently released from jail. Viafore did not return and Graswald was convicted of his death. The Constellation by Melissa McGill, an art installations play based on Beacon, launched on and around the remains of the castle on 28 June 2015. The piece comprises of 17 LEDs, installed on metal poles of different heights, which are to produce the appearance of a new constellation when lit for 2 hours every night. The Bannerman Castle Trust, Inc. is presently the island (2021) which works in the New York State Bureau of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation and is a nonprofit organization of “Friends” of workers. The Trust pools resources and funds to help maintain Pollepel Island structures and increase awareness on the importance of and legacy of the Island and teach government and political organizations. As an academic, artistic, historical and recreational institution to boost tourism in the Hudson Valley, the Trust ensures that the island is secure for such community and the workers.

Read More: Gwrych Castle

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