The White Lady's Castle – Rochester, New York - Atlas Obscura
Free iron-on Atlas Obscura badge when you preorder our new kids’ book. Shop now.

Rochester, New York

The White Lady's Castle

An old dining hall now serves up ghost stories for lusty locals. 

Nestled near a forest in Rochester, New York is a crumbling old foundation which looks not unlike a medieval castle, and although history tells us the structure was part of an early 20th century dining hall locals know this site is the White Lady’s Castle.   

The actual building ruins located in Durand-Eastman Park were once part of a hotel dining hall that served swimmers in the nearby Lake Ontario. Now the site is little more than sets of curved steps leading up to a tall stone wall, the top of which serves as a sort of rampart. The overall impression is that of an ancient European castle fallen into ruin, so it is no wonder that a pervasive local legend has grown around the site.

As the story goes, the crumbling remains are all that is left of a stately home belonging to an over-protective mother and her daughter. One night, the daughter went out for a stroll and never returned. The mother, thinking that her daughter had run away with a young suitor went mad and continues to haunt any nubile young things that visit the remains of her home. Locals have reported seeing a white phantasm hovering over the ramparts of the former refectory and more dramatically, some have reported seeing the ghost flanked by a pair of spectral dogs that will chase anyone foolish enough to canoodle near the site.

The tale of the spectral “white lady” exists in a number of iterations the world over, but this ghost’s “castle” may be the most effective in scaring lusty teens.

Know Before You Go

Take 590 North Until you see the roundabouts, when it turns into Seabreeze Drive. At the fourth roundabout, make a left onto Durand Boulevard. Go through the stoplight and you are now on Sweet Fern Road. The White Lady's Castle is one mile on the left at the top of a low hill overlooking Lake Ontario.