Saturday, March 08, 2008

Six Houses Guaranteed to Make Yours Look Puny.

Drive just 50 miles away from the sleek, modern skyscrapers of New York City and you’ll find yourself at Bannerman’s Castle – about as opposite from “sleek and modern” as you can get.

Francis Bannerman VI bought the island in 1900 to use as an arsenal. Bannerman bought 90 percent of the U.S. army’s leftover supplies from the Spanish-American War and thought that the island would be an ideal place to keep them. He even advertised that fact by having “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal” engraved into a wall that faced the eastern bank of the Hudson River. In 1920, the arsenal backfired – literally. Two hundred pounds of shells and gunpowder exploded, destroying a good chunk of the castle and its surrounding buildings. New York State bought the island and all of its buildings in 1967, but after a fire consumed the grounds in 1969, the castle and the island were pretty much abandoned by all. In recent years, tours have been conducted by Bannerman’s Castle Trust, but only if tourees consent to wear a hard hat.

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