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Painting of the Castle from an old postcard

* Old print of BOLDT CASTLE

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1.The Castle:  From the foundation level of the indoor swimming pool to the highest tower, Boldt Castle rises six stories in height.  The castle's 120+ rooms were served by an elevator.  The Castle itself was modeled after buildings of the 16th century, with classical details applied to the towered, medieval forms, combining traditional elements with such modern features as large, plate glass windows and extensive wrap-around porches.  Fireproof construction was provided by using steel and concrete roofs and floors. The castle's massive granite walls were ornamented with decorative details of cast terra cotta, and roofs were tiled with the same material.  The front of the castle (facing Alexandria Bay) extends 160 feet.  The average depth is no less than 170 feet. Castle photo taken from North side of Heart Island Photo from North Side of Island


The Hennery + Dovecote where fancy foul were kept.

The Hennery & Dove Cote

2.The Hennery & Dove-Cote:  A sixty foot tower built of native stone was the first structure on the island built by the Boldts in 1896. The structure which was called the "Hennery" was topped with a pigeon house - where they collected fancy fowl. This building was present when the Boldts were living in the original eighty room wooden "cottage" before George Boldt had that structure removed in 1899 and began work on the Castle in July of 1900.  A bicycle path was built around the entire edge of the island, at the water's edge.  Plans had been drawn for a Green and Palm House which was to have been connected to the Hennery. Along with the gazebo, the area in front of the hennery is often used for weddings.


3.The Italian Garden:  A rocky crest of the island was extended into a level plateau by making a promenade terrace atop the stone-walled service tunnel.  In contrast to a more natural character of the landscape elsewhere, this detached garden was to be geometrically formal, so high retaining walls were raised on the other sides as well, making the plan symmetrical. Marble statuary was delivered from Italy (Found half a century later still crated, where it had sunk within an old boathouse). At the opposite extremity of the garden from the Ball Room, a fountain pool was surrounded by a curved, lower terrace, overlooking the picturesque roof line of the Power House. Beyond, eastward down the river, is a distant horizon of water. The Italian Garden sits atop this service tunnel wall


Balcony overlooks the Dove Cote and Italian Garden

The reconstructed balcony on the left overlooks the Hennery and Dove Cote and the Italian Garden which are built atop the underground service tunnel seen in the photo above.

Arch of Honor topped by stone deet know as harts


4.The Arch of Honor: (The Peristyle) This water gate was modeled after Roman monuments, and was to be the formal entry for boats, delivering guests from larger yachts anchored in deep water.  Built in 1899, of granite, the base of the Peristyle was built in such a way as to help make the heart shape of the island.  There was to have been a double row of columns , placed every nine feet, which would enclose a covered walk, extending from each side of the twenty five foot center "Arch of Honor".  Carved stone deer, known as "harts" once topped the arch.  (The "hart" was a symbol of Mr. Boldt's lineage and also part of his family's coat of arms.)   A drawbridge within the opening
was to have provided an entrance for small boats to pass into an artificial bay and a promenade on the embankment of the Swan Pond where rare ducks and black swans would have been kept.  There also would have been a covered dock; and the promenade would have bordered the lagoon which surrounded part of the island.  This  project was not complete when work on the island stopped.  To the right is a drawing of the proposed peristyle showing it crowned with a sculpture of three harts (deer) and flanked on either side with a carved stone fountain.

Drawing of how the Peristyle and Arch of Honor would have looked  *Drawing of the proposed PERISTYLE.


Three Harts a 3000lb sculptor sits atop the Arch of Honor     This beautiful 3000 lb  bronze sculpture of the "Three Harts" was completed by sculptors, Bill, Gabriel, & Ai Qiu Hopen of Hopen Studio Inc. and now sits atop the Arch of Honor.


 (Bill Hopen  graciously provided me with these photos.)

Another view of theThree Harts sculptor atop the Arch of Honor








Fountain found in a crate on the river bottom

This carved marble fountain was found in a crate on the river bottom in 1948, 44 years after all work was stopped on the Castle.  It is believed that the crate may have been on a dock which had deteriorated and that it had fallen through into the river. From the drawing of the Peristyle it appears that two of these fountains were to have been placed, one on each side of the "Arch of Honor".


5.The Alster Tower: This small castle structure, 90 feet tall, also called the Play House, resembles a defense tower, like ones found on the Alster River, in Hamburg, Germany.  This structure, which was begun in 1897 was formally opened in 1899 and was built as a place to entertain guests.  On the main floor, was an ornate room used for dancing called the "Shell Room", named for the  shape of its ceiling.  Once tiny colored lights within the folds of the shell, cast their rays, over the room, giving the effect that you were enclosed in a mammoth sea shell.  Another room was decorated with representations of armed warriors and Egyptian and Turkish firearms once adorned the walls.  Imported bronze lamps hung from the ceiling.  Other rooms were decorated in pink and green and included fireplaces.  The Tower had a beautifully carved winding stairway and balcony of polished oak and in the basement was a two  The Play House also known as Alster Tower
Stunning window in Alster Tower overlooks the St Lawrence River

A stunning window in Alster Tower (the Play House).

lane bowling alley used by the Boldt family.   Besides the inside stairway, there is also a stairway on the outside of the tower.  Other floors contained a billiard room, library, kitchen and several apartments with bedrooms, studies  and baths.  At the base of the structure there had been a dock and next to it on the water front was a Roman swimming pool.  On the summit

Curved stairs, oak paneling and carved baluster in Alster Tower  

Curved stairs, oak paneling and carved balusters adorned the Shell Room in the     Alster Tower where dances were held.      The remains of a two lane bowling alley are in the lowest level of the tower.

Once beautifully ornate plaster pillars adorned the Shell Room Ornate plasterwork once adorned the pillared archways of the Shell Room in the Alster Tower (the Play House) were the Boldts entertained their guests. of the Tower there had once been a huge heart of lights, and on Sunday nights, a cross of lights was lit.  The tower offered a view of the whole island and its immense flower beds and lawns where nymphs and mermaids sent forth showers, while from the tops of artificial cat tails water sprayed the flowers.  This structure was actually completed and the Boldt family lived here during the four years when the Castle itself was being erected.

A sliding glass and wood pocket door in Alster Tower







A unique wood and glass sliding pocket door opened into the Shell Room.


The Power House was also called the Water Castle 6.The Power House:  (Clock & Chimes Tower)  (Also called the Water Castle)  The Boldts intended to electrify he island, and their architects designed this facility where coal would fire steam generators.  An arched, stone bridge connects the Power House to the island, and the highest tower provided river traffic with illuminated clock faces and the music of silver chimes.  The chimes ranged in size from 12 to 14 feet and could be heard from four miles away.  In the upper floors of the power house were apartments for engineers and machinists employed in running the building which would provide water and electricity for the castle and the grounds.


7.The Underground Passage: (no inside photo available) The original entrance to this tunnel was at the servants' dock on the water's edge. Goods were to be transported from barges by way of the tunnel to storage rooms within the Castle's foundation, thereby avoiding the main floor. The passage also houses the electrical wiring and water pipes from the Power House. Behind this stonework tunnels lead underground


The Yacht House on Wellesley Island 8The Yacht House: (across the water, on Wellesley Island) the family's three yachts and enormous houseboat were accommodated, (with tall masts and rigging standing) in slips 128 feet long. The main space rises 64 feet and the high doors were so heavy that an engine was required to move them. Quarters for crews and maintenance staff were adjacent, as was a shop where racing launches were built and serviced. The Yacht House was the first of these remarkable buildings to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Gazebo: Located close to the water's edge near Alster Tower, the gazebo, which has been rebuilt within the last few years is one of many favorite spots for weddings.  It's stone pillars support a uniquely designed roof. The gazebo, a favorite place for weddings on the island The gazebo, on the water's edge, is the site of many weddings on Heart Island.


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For more on Boldt Castle including actual floor plans,
please click on the "Page 3" link below.

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