A significant landmark and popular tourist destination in the Thousand Islands area of the US state of New York. Open to seasonal guests from mid-May to mid-October, and the hotel is located on Île du Coeur in the St. Lawrence River. Heart Island is part of Alexandria Township in Jefferson County. A mansion originally built by American millionaire George Boldt, it is now protected as a tourist attraction by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority.
At the turn of the century, George C. Boldt, millionaire owner of the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, decided to build a life-size Rhine castle on picturesque Heart Island in Alexandria Bay. The majestic building is said to be a sign of his love for his wife, Louise.
Beginning in the 1900s, the Boldt family spent their summers in the Thousand Islands at the Boldt family’s Wellesley home, near Mr Boldt’s Wellesley Island farms, while 300 laborers, including stonemasons, carpenters, and artists, shaped the 120-year-old castle. With tunnels. Power station, Italian gardens, suspension bridge, alster tower (children’s theatre), and dovecote. Nothing was overlooked, not even a single expense.
In January 1904. Boldt telegraphed the island and ordered workers to “stop all construction” immediately. Louise died suddenly. A heartbroken Boldt couldn’t imagine his dream castle without his lover. Boldt never returned to the island and left the facility behind in remembrance of his love.
The castle and other stone buildings were abandoned for 73 years, at the mercy of wind, rain, ice, snow, and vandals. When the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority purchased the property in 1977, it was decided to preserve it for the benefit of future generations, using all net revenue from the operation of the fort.
Since 1977, several million dollars have been allocated to rehabilitate, restore, and improve facilities on Heart Island.
Accessible by water taxi, riverboat, and private boat, the castle is open for guided tours from mid-May to mid-October. The five-acre island is fully accessible, with restrooms, a large private dock, a number of picnic spots, a gift shop, and a concession selling food and drinks.
Explore six magnificent buildings on Heart Island, the Castle. Power Station, Alster Tower, Hennery, Arch, and Stone Lookout. Exhibits on the various structures and a 15-minute video presentation provide insight into the lifestyle of George and Louise Boldt, the history of the Thousand Islands neighborhood and the restoration work on Heart Island. Inside the chateau, the first floor has been restored to reflect the interior design of George and Louise Boldt, with furniture in place.
The entrances now boast gorgeous handcrafted doors, and ornate windows after hundreds of windows were rebuilt. The castle rises six stories from the foundation level of the indoor swimming pool to the highest hall with a tower.
The Castle Interior
One of the castle’s most ornate rooms, the Ballroom is decorated with modern moldings. And designed with spectacular lighting and used to host many of Heart Island’s unmissable evenings of entertainment. The Boldts never got the chance to enjoy the live music acoustics that was intended to be captured in the hall’s architectural design.
Initial plans for the Ballroom involved placing an organ on the small landing. An Estey pipe organ was donated today. The original cottage on the island contained a keyboard that could ring the steeples of the tower, connected to a switchboard in the power station. The castle organ was likely equipped to do the same.
The Ballroom was restored to its current state in 2005.
Large hallway and staircase
Billiards, politics, cigars, and brandy were essential ingredients for the enjoyment of a high society gentleman. As a hard-working businessman, it’s no surprise to see George Boldt having fun once in a while. Men of this period were expected to talk and discuss potential business partnerships or transactions in a secluded but informal setting such as a billiard room.
The billiard table displayed next to the cue is original Brunswick Company pieces, restored by a subsidiary of the Brunswick Company, who replaced the green felt and rearranged the table inlays and ornaments.
The original plasterboard ceiling was partially intact when the Papal Authority acquired the place. In the early 1990s, the billiards room had a comprehensive restoration.
Being a guy who spends time sailing the Lawrence River, George Boldt’s suite is quite enough in terms of accommodations. He spends most of his time entertaining visitors, developing new architectural projects, and visiting St. Rarely was a trip to Heart Island restricted to the bedroom.
As lord of the estate, George Boldt would be a personal butler whose duties were to look after George’s wardrobe, attend to needs, and attend to personal requests such as delivering messages or private letters.
Each family suite is designed to include lockers, a personal bathroom, and a private entrance to the second-floor balcony.
The Great Hall rehabilitation work is one of the Bridge Authority’s greatest achievements. The area is now completely unrecognizable since the property was first purchased in 1977.
The stained glass dome was just a crude steel structure, the Italian Carrara marble for the stairs and lobby floors had never been laid, and the subfloor was covered in dirt. Fortunately, part of the original plaster ceiling has been completed. It has survived years of neglect, allowing contractors to fabricate replica moldings in 1995 that showcase the place. In the early 1990s, the billiards room had a comprehensive restoration—the place.
In the early 1990s, the billiards room had a comprehensive restoration. The oak paneling, and in 2001, the installation of the colored glass cupola. Some art reproductions are exhibited throughout the Great Hall, except for two. Original watercolors of the island by painter Frank H. Taylor of Philadelphia,
George Boldt was presumably acquainted with Frank Taylor, a writer and artist for Harper’s Weekly.
If you were invited to Heart Island, the Reception Room is where the Boldt family butler would cordially invite you to the grand mansion. All personal items were sent straight to a freshly prepared room with the butler. After a series of refreshments, tea and coffee served, Mr. and Mrs. Boldt came to formally welcome you into their home. The reception room offers only a taste of the luxurious Boldt lifestyle. This chamber was first finished in 1904 and was renovated and made public in 1993.