Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Upstate New York, USA
Tours are Available
I was doing some locums work in Newburgh in the last decade and one day, when I was up in the office of the occupational health nurse, I could see the remains of Bannerman's castle out the window in the distance. I had previously had glimpses from the train a few times (Amtrak & Metro North - and you can see a flash of it in Hitchcock's North by Northwest). I asked and learned that there were Pollepel Island tours including an extensive guided walking tour around the island. On my next assignment I left time on arrival day for the tour. It was a hot day and there were unexpected showers that I was unprepared for, but also grateful for.
The main building was considered too unstable then for close approach and there have been continuing losses due to vandalism and the weather - I think a significant part of wall had fallen the previous winter. On the tour, we were told that a lot of 'military' iron had been used in the concrete, but that the concrete was seriously substandard leading to accelerated decay of the structure.
Bannerman's as a business was gone by the time I, also, started collecting in the 1960s, but I did make my earliest accessions from the catalog of Westchester Trading in the Bronx who claimed to be a successor to Bannerman's. My first purchase was a US model 1860 cavalry saber for $24.50 and later a WWII gunto mounted 17th century Japanese katana blade for $65. Big money (for me) in those days.
I believe that the tours to the island are continuing (with advance booking advised) and while in the area, a visitor should also consider the museum at the West Point Military Academy.