The Ruins of Bannerman Castle - Atlas Obscura

Beacon, New York

The Ruins of Bannerman Castle

Explore the stunning castle ruins of Frank Bannerman VI's island “empire” with a special guided tour of this Hudson Valley landmark.

Join us for a guided tour of Bannerman Castle, the former island arsenal of eccentric entrepreneur Frank Bannerman VI.

On a small, rugged island in the Hudson Valley sit the castle-like remains of Francis Bannerman's ammunitions empire. Immigrating from Scotland as a baby in 1851, Bannerman began selling scrap metal from the harbors at a very young age and founded his own military surplus company when he was just 14 years old. He quickly graduated from selling scrap to cannons and full-size Navy ships, and by 1900, Bannerman had such a massive accumulation of military equipment that he was required by law to move his storage outside of city limits. Bannerman relocated to Polepell Island, a small piece of land that his son had discovered while canoeing the Hudson River, where he proceeded to build his own elaborate, castle-like dwelling almost entirely without the help of architects or engineers.

Today, Polepell Island sits in an advanced state of ruin after decades of neglect.  Abandoned in 1957 following a series of disastrous occurrences, Bannerman Castle has been left to its own slow decay. Join us for a very special guided tour of the island as we explore what remains of the Bannerman family empire and delve into the history of this truly unique and fascinating site. 


  • Metro-North fare is NOT INCLUDED in the price of the tour. Please purchase your roundtrip train ticket at Grand Central Station.
  • Approximate travel time from Grand Central Terminal to Beacon Station is 90 minutes. If taking the train, please plan to arrive no later than 5:30 p.m.
  • Those traveling by car can meet us at the Beacon Ferry Dock in Beacon, NY at 5:45 p.m. The boat will depart promptly. There are no refunds for people who miss the boat and we are not able to wait for those who arrive late. Plan your route ahead to assure on-time arrival.


  • Wear comfortable shoes. Some of the paths and trails are steep and there will be a lot of walking, including 72 stairs.
  • There is no running water on the island, but there are porta potties. Bottled water will be available for purchase on the boat.
  • Feel free to bring your own picnic snack for the train and boat! No food is allowed on the island.
  • Rain or shine.

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.

This event is part of a series of Chase Sapphire Selected experiences. Questions or concerns about this experience? Email for help.