Abandoned for Over 70 Years, Historic Boldt Castle Has Been Restored. Photos Inside!

Boldt Castle is a famous and beloved landmark in New York State, USA. It’s located on Heart Island, nestled in the stunning Saint Lawrence River. During the summer months, from mid-May to mid-October, visitors have the opportunity to explore this magnificent castle. Heart Island is part of the Town of Alexandria in Jefferson County.

Originally, Boldt Castle was the private home of George Boldt, a wealthy American millionaire. In the early 1900s, he built this remarkable castle as a grand gesture of love for his wife, Louise. The castle itself was quite extravagant, boasting an impressive six stories and 120 rooms. It included fascinating features such as tunnels, a powerhouse, beautiful Italian gardens, and even a children’s playhouse known as the alster tower. No expense was spared during its construction, which involved a team of 300 workers, including skilled stonemasons, carpenters, and artists, who brought George Boldt’s vision to life.

Sadly, tragedy struck in 1904 when Louise passed away suddenly. Overwhelmed by grief, George Boldt stopped all construction and never returned to the island. The castle remained unfinished and abandoned, serving as a memorial to his enduring love for the place.

For the next 73 years, Boldt Castle endured the harsh elements and suffered neglect, facing damage from wind, rain, ice, snow, and even vandals. However, in 1977, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority assumed ownership of the site and made the decision to preserve it for future generations. Since then, millions of dollars have been invested in restoring, rehabilitating, and improving the structures on Heart Island.

Today, visitors have various options for reaching Boldt Castle, such as Alexandria Bay and Clayton in New York, as well as Gananoque, Rockport, and Ivy Lea in Ontario. They can choose to arrive by ferry, private boat, or tour boat. Admission fees are charged to explore most of the castle grounds and structures, but boat owners can take advantage of free docking facilities. Visitors coming from Canada must present valid identification at the United States Customs and Border Protection office, a wooden structure staffed by a single customs officer. Keep in mind that visiting the island requires entering the United States.

As of 2011, the majority of the rooms on the first and second floors of Boldt Castle have been furnished, although with contemporary items. The basement remains mostly unfinished, except for a pool, bowling lanes, compartments, and a passageway leading to the powerhouse. The upper floors have been intentionally left unfurnished, but some rooms and corridors now house exhibits that display pictures and artifacts from the time when the Boldt family resided in the Thousand Islands region. Certain rooms have purposely been left empty to allow guests to imagine the castle’s original state before renovations and modernizations took place. On the outskirts of the island, you’ll discover a fully restored stone triumphal arch, originally intended as a boat entrance. Moreover, there’s a bridge connecting both sides of the island, which could be adjusted in height if necessary.