Bannerman Island Pictures!

As I mentioned in the previous thread wherein three intrepid Dopers planned the expedition to Bannerman Island (which is actually called Polepell Island), I forgot the battery for my digital camera and was left only with my medium format film camera, and didn’t really bring enough film to take pictures of everything. But, never fear! I have processed the negatives and scanned the pictures that came out well, so here they are! These are all low resolution, compressed images. If you want hi-res versions, email me and I will be happy to send them your way.
On the boat, approaching the island, in the distance

Getting closer

…and closer (and very underexposed, sorry.)

View of the castle from where we docked.

A view of the side of one of the structures - I think this is the residence building.

Another view of the castle from the water, this time as we were leaving.

Farther away, with a view of the castle and the dock.

The front entrance of the castle, in all her glory. Notice that you can see through the windows to the other side; the floors and walls burned in a fire decades ago.

One of the guard towers in the river. The other one collapsed and is swimming with the fishes.

Some tourists looking down a ridge from the back of the castle.

The front of the castle again, with some other ruins in the background.

Little Nemo’s ass, left, and our tour guide, Tom, right, and a girl with a teddy bear, outside the residence building, which is seperate from the main castle.

Peering in through a window.

The view down the Hudson Valley, towards West Point, from the back patio of the castle.

A view of the castle from the back.

I hope you like 'em.

Oooooh, pretty. What with “things” going on, I have to turn down all social engagements, but it loooks to have been a terrific trip

Great job on the photos, Friedo. Thanks for posting them. The black & white really adds a touch of grandeur to the views.

If they decide to conduct tours next year, I’ll post if for all who missed it this time.

Nifty. I do a lot of architectural details of crumbling buildings, but there’s nothing like that around here. I lug a 4x5 around for my artsy stuff, though (to be fair, it’s a press camera, and only weighs 10 pounds). I especially like the “peering through a window” one. What camera do you use?


There’s nothing like that around anywhere. Bannerman’s is unique.

The first time I saw the castle, as I posted in the other thread, was out the window of a train. I was riding to NYC for the very first time, this past January. My friend Vince was in the seat next to me. We’d just been having a discussion of whether or not there were castles in America - he somehow hadn’t realized that the age of castle-building in Europe was over before the colonization of the New World. I’d just managed to convince him that no, there aren’t any castles in the United States, when I looked out the window and was proven wrong. :slight_smile:

Even after I looked it up on the internet after our return home that evening and proved to him that the castle was a 19th century rich guy’s whimsical overindulgence, he still insists he’s right…

I have a Mamiya 645 which takes 120 or 220 rolls and shoots 6x4.5cm frames. It’s small enough to hang around your neck on an abandoned island hike, but big enough for wonderful detail. (You can’t really see all the great detail in the low-res scans I put online.)

All the pictures were taken with a 50mm lens, which is a wide-angle at this size, with me guestimating the exposure.

Please do. I was definitely bummed out at having to miss this one.

Any interesting historical bon mots from the trip that you guys could share? About the Bannerman family? Interesting occurances at the castle while it was occupied? The armaments business?

I’ll relay what I remember from the exhaustive history our tour guide gave us.

Legend has it that the first Bannerman was Frances MacDonald, who faught under Robert the Bruce in Scotland. Apparently, during an important battle, Frances saved the army’s banner, and so Robert renamed him Frances the Bannerman. Ever since, the Bannermans have named their eldest son Frances, and it was Frances VI who built the castle.

Pollepel Island had previously been used for illegal prostitution and (gasp!) alcohol consumption, until some old prude bought it. Frances VI, having established himself as a merchant of military surpluss stuff (including, but not limited to weapons) needed a place to store lots of highly volatile explosives and whatnot. He saw the island on a boat ride up the Hudson, and happened to know someone who knew the owner, and bought it and started building his castle, which was mostly used as a warehouse.

There are also several interesting theories about how the island came to be named Pollepel. They’re not sure if it is a corruption of a Dutch word, an Indian word, or the name “Polly Pell,” a character in a highly dubious though romantic legend about star cross’d lovers who end up residing on the island.