History. . .
At the turn-of-the-century,
George C. Boldt, millionaire proprietor of the world famous
Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, set out to build a full
size rhineland castle in Alexandria Bay, on picturesque Heart
Island. The grandiose structure was to be a display of his love
for his wife, Louise.
Beginning in 1900, Boldt's
family shared four glorious summers on the island in the Alster
Tower while 300 workers including stonemasons, carpenters, and
artists fashioned the six story, 120 room castle, complete with
tunnels, a powerhouse, Italian gardens, a drawbridge, and a dove
cote. Not a single detail or expense was spared.
In 1904, tragedy struck. Boldt
telegraphed the island and commanded the workers to immediately
"stop all construction." Louise had died suddenly. A broken
hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his
beloved. Boldt never returned to the island, leaving behind the
structure as a monument of his love.
For 73 years, the castle and
various stone structures were left to the mercy of the wind,
rain, ice, snow and vandals. When the Thousand Islands Bridge
Authority acquired the property in 1977, it was decided that
through the use of all net revenues from the castle operation it
would be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.
Since 1977, several million
dollars have been applied to rehabilitating, restoring and
improving the Heart Island structures.