I don’t often read the local “Southern Dutchess Focus” of the Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper, but this past Saturday’s cover caught my eye. The color photo dominating the page was headlined: “Concerts, tours set on island”; in the photo, a couple of tables full of people are dining near a hedge in the forefront, with part of a castle ruin looming beyond the hedge. I immediately thought of Bannerman Castle, about which our own WaltTheMan had once written, and a quick glance at the caption under the photo confirmed that it was, indeed, Bannerman Castle.
The historic castle, built in 1901 by military supplies dealer Frank Bannerman, was severely damaged over the decades by explosion, fire, and, eventually, neglect. In 2011, fundraising and lobbying efforts were begun by the Bannerman Island Trust. According to a February, 2011 article in Private Island News (always part of my daily reading, how ’bout you?):
The castle on Bannerman Island – also known as Pollepel Island – is under the domain of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The primary public action group is the Bannerman Castle Trust, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the castle’s plight and stabilizing the structure itself – which has decayed more and more with every winter on the stormy Hudson. It will take a lot of work to bring the castle back to its former glory – but at this point, the Trust would be happy with just keeping its hollow remains standing…
Picturesque boat tours around the island are becoming popular, and the Trust offers “hard-hat” tours of the ruins with all proceeds going towards restoration.”
According to the Poughkeepsie Journal‘s article, this year the Bannerman Castle Trust’s goal is to collect at least $150,000 in donations:
“This summer will be an important one for the Bannerman Castle Trust. By Sept. 12, the group needs to raise $150,000 to secure a matching $150,000 grant from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund…To attract more visitors to Bannerman Island this summer, a new touring experience has been created allowing people to take a self-guided tour; afterward they can enjoy a boxed lunch from a local restaurant, and hear live music. The “boxed lunch” tours will be on the third Sunday of every month through October.”
WaltTheMan had made me aware of an historical landmark in my area of which I had been previously ignorant. I think that the least I can do to thank Walt would be to help the Bannerman Castle Trust reach its fundraising goal. By doing so, I’d feel that I was, in a very small way, making Walt proud.
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