Boldt Castle

Alster Tower in foreground
In the summer of 1893 George Boldt and his family (Louise; his wife, and their children; Louise Clover (age 11), and George Jr. (age 15) spent a weekend in Alexandria Bay and returned the following year. Mr. Elizur Kirke Hart, owner of Hart Island, died in 1893 and his extensive summer "cottage" remained unoccupied for several years. But a few years later in July of 1895, Boldt bought Hart (later Heart) Island, though it was deeded in Louise Boldt's name (was originally Hemlock Island and then renamed "Hart" Island by Mr. Hart). The island consisted of about five acres not too far off Alexandria Bay, and held a large wooden and granite cottage. The cottage was a towered building with eighty rooms, which Boldt remodeled. The family spent the next couple summers on the island and Boldt modified the shape of the island to look more like a heart. Other buildings were also built on the island, including a large stone arch called the Arch of Honor, a covered dock, six more summer homes, a number of flower gardens, a gazebo, a hennery, dog kennels, and the Alster Tower.

Boldt Castle Yacht House
In 1899 George Boldt decided to build a castle on his island and present it to his wife, Louise, on her birthday, Valentine's Day. The castle, begun in 1900, would be modeled after a castle on the Rhine and would be built by only the best craftsman. Before long the old cottage was moved across the ice to Wellesley Island where it still exists as a bed and breakfast. The Power House Building and clock were built, while the family spent their summers in the Alster Tower.

In January, 1904 Boldt Castle was almost complete when a telegram was sent to the workers for them to stop all work. Louise died just one month before her birthday. Over three hundred workers stopped work and left. Rumor was that George Boldt never came back to the island; he subsequently died on December 5, 1916 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Upon his death ownership of the island passed jointly to George Boldt's only son and daughter - George Boldt, Jr. and Louise Clover Boldt Miles.

Boldt Castle from the St. Lawrence River
On June of 1922 the Boldt estate, which included Heart Island and all structures on it, was sold to Mr. Edward J. Nobel, President of the Beech Nut Foods Company (who make Lifesavers) and Mr. Alfred Graham Miles, the husband of George Boldt's daughter, Louise. In June of 1924 Mr. Nobel purchased full interest in the Boldt estate.

Photos courtesy of 'Dave'.

Boldt Castle Webcam
Historic Structures in Jefferson County
Stone Buildings