Riders of the Metro-North in the Hudson Valley are likely familiar with the surreal sight of Bannerman Castle. Chase Sapphire® provided cardmembers and Atlas Obscura readers with the rare opportunity to visit Pollepel Island, where they scouted Bannerman Castle’s grounds and learned about the mysterious place’s past. The ruins perched on the picturesque river are a romantic and remote hidden gem, enticing to even the most well-traveled individuals.
Frances Bannerman built Bannerman Castle almost entirely by himself, without the help of engineers or architects. A self-made ammunitions dealer, he began selling scrap metal as a child and by the age of 14, had already founded his own military surplus company.
Once his accumulates of wares grew too large (he eventually graduated to selling full-size Navy ships), Bannerman was forced to move beyond city limits. He chose Bannerman Castle’s current site on Pollepel Island: a small slice of land his son had discovered while canoeing.
Though it may appear ancient, the Castle has only been abandoned since 1957. Guests on the tour learned about the place’s recent history, along with many other fascinating facts that enriched the overall experience.
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