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 canons 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's 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.
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- We'll be boarding the 12:43 pm Hudson line train from Grand Central Terminal to Beacon Station, arriving at 2:14 pm. If you'd like to travel with the Atlas Obscura group, meet us at the Grand Central Terminal clock in the main concourse by 12:30 pm.
- Those traveling by car can meet us at the Beacon Ferry Dock in Beacon, NY at 2:30pm; please arrive on time as our boat will leave promptly at 3:00.
- Our tour will last approximately 2.5 hours: 1/2 hour each way on the shuttle boat and about 1.5 hours touring the island (rain or shine).
- 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.
Metro-North fare is NOT INCLUDED in the price of the tour. Please purchase your roundtrip train ticket at Grand Central Station.