Despite my professed love for the Harlem Line, I do in fact visit quite a few other locations and post photos… and today’s collection is no exception. Unfortunately for my dear Harlem, this time I cheated on him with his little brother, the Hudson. If you’ve ever been on the upper portion of Metro North’s Hudson Line you may have noticed a castle on an island in the Hudson. In fact you may have seen the collapse of the castle on your train ride past the island… Metro-North workers were the first to report the collapse of the castle last December to the trust that is attempting to restore the castle.

Although most people today know the island simply as Bannerman’s Island, the true name is Pollepel Island. Scottish immigrant and New York businessman Francis Bannerman purchased the island in 1900. By 1901 a castle for his business and residence had been built on the island for his family.

Francis Bannerman VI, better known as Frank, began collecting scrap at the harbor to sell as a young boy. As he got older, and after the Civil War, he began purchasing military surplus from government auctions and amassed quite the collection of ammunition – which he formed into a business called “Bannerman’s” in 1865. As having so much ammunition in the heart of Brooklyn began to be a safety issue, the island was a perfect location for his business.

Today, the island is a part of the Hudson Highlands State Park. Unfortunately, it is not quite the jewel it once was. Besides the two collapses in the past year, the castle was ravaged by fire in 1969. Many portions of the castle became covered in vines over time, which amusingly might be helping to hold the structure together. The Bannerman Castle Trust is attempting to preserve and restore the castle, but are desperately in need of funding. As we wait the castle will continue to crumble, and perhaps be lost forever: with little money to spend they’ve chosen to attempt to restore the residence first, since it is in better condition than the castle itself.

If you’re interested in learning more about the castle, taking a tour, or donating to the Bannerman Castle Trust, be sure to check out their website here:


6 Responses

  1. Justin says:

    Thanks for the great articles – enjoy reading each post. And I really enjoy your pictures. I’m curious about what camera and lens type you use, would you mind sharing? I’m a novice photographer and have an interest in learning more.


    • Emily says:

      Thanks for the comments. I don’t really have all that fancy of a camera. I was using the Fujifilm HS10 for those shots, it is not a true SLR. The zoom on it is very nice though.

  2. Rob says:


    These and most all of your shoots are fantastic. I have always wanted to visit here and have on many occasions thought about sneaking on to it. You may have just saved me from a trip to the police station : )


  3. Bob Levine says:

    The legendary folk singer, Don Mclean (bye bye Miss American pie) wrote a song about the castle called “castle in the sky”.

  4. Elise Dunham says:

    These pictures are so beautiful! I read a novel showcasing the Bannerman Island and it’s pretty cool to see what it looks like. Too bad it’s falling apart. My husband is a train buff and sent me this link so that is how I found about this. I just might read those blogs on interesting people. When we lived in Boston. ther were some ‘regulars’ who were pretty weird that rode the T.

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