The Beauty of the Gilded Age: Boldt Castle

Stories of Boldt Castle kept coming back to me. I wanted to go. Grandma told stories of taking mom to the castle long ago. Back in those years all furniture and paintings, and any signs of life were long gone…

It was ghostly-looking and crumbling.

The Umpire and I went to Heart Island on the Clayton Island Tours. The tour was 3+ hours long and we hummed along the Canadian line, as well as the mysterious Lost Channel. It was a beautiful tour of the river, headed by a friendly guide. We went places on the river where the big boats couldn’t go. Eventually we stopped at the Heart Island dock for a 1½-hour self-guided tour of the castle.

George C Boldt came from Prussia and was the son of poor parents, yet he was a man full of ambition, imagination, and had tremendous organizational skills.

Boldt became a most successful hotel magnate, managing and profit-sharing the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, and the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia. He was once a trustee of Cornell University, and provided anonymously, a college education for 75 young men.


Rock Island Lighthouse.
Osprey Nest

Mr. Boldt purchased the island from a man named Hart, and changed the name to Heart Island. Alster tower (the playhouse), was built first. To me it looks like a sand castle that was built by dripping watery-sand from above. This is where the family lived while the castle was being built.

Lumpy and mysterious…


The arch with stags on top

The castle was built in the Rhineland style common in Germany, with 120 rooms, including a billiards room, ballroom and reception room, as well as bedrooms, servant’s quarters and kitchen.

Portrait of Louise
A likeness of the children was carved into the fireplace.
Mr. Boldt’s room

I love this stove in the kitchen
Dining Room


Boldt castle was begun as a gift for his wife, but when Louise died suddenly in 1904, the work was stopped and never completed, though the plans were complete and kept to this day. Boldt never returned to Heart Island.

Mark Twain wrote a book called The Gilded Age, about the era in which he lived. He had plenty to say about politics and wealth.  Mr. Boldt worked hard for his wealth; sadly no amount of money could bring back his wife Louise.


Though I can’t imagine living that life style, I appreciate the Thousand Island Bridge Authority for raising money to maintain this beautiful work of art.

Can you imagine living in the middle of a wonderful river and with water all around you? Think of sleeping with the windows open at night to hear the waves splashing; the birds calling…


The Span of Life

When you get to be my age, you write out more sympathy cards than you care to. We lost another loved one in the family. She lived a long life. She was the last of the girls to go.

It is such an odd thing to have before you the grandmothers and grandfathers, mothers and fathers, and aunts and uncles. How fast life can be lived, but when you are a child you take for granted you would know them your whole life.

How our lives touch others!

I watched Seneca Lake as long as I could on our drive home. To me water is soothing, peaceful, and life. I thought of the words my husband spoke about truth, and wonder how many are still blind to it. Is all hope lost?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 14:6

We were nearly home and saw emergency vehicles, draping a mammoth flag over the bridge dividing the highway. Then another flag on the next bridge.

What was going on? I knew July 4thwas in two days, but I had never seen this done before. I turned in my seat and took a photo out the back window.

On the local news, a 29-year-old State Trooper was killed in the line of duty. I did not know this young man, but today I am sick of this. I can’t stop thinking of it.
We are all heartsick over one more shooting, one more person who is unhappy in life, detached, depressed, mentally ill, no matter…we ask—why do they take someone else’s life before taking their own?

We ask…when will it stop? Or…why didn’t I see any signs of violence in my neighbor? On and on, and it seems there are no answers.

I am sick of the questions, sick of our government trying to “fix it.” It is out of control. Let’s call it what it is.

The human heart is deceitful and it shows. The human heart is out of touch with the God of the Universe.

This God-King is still in charge! Most importantly, this God-King (amazingly) still loves humans and he has always loved!

One of these days he will say it is enough. He will be done with humanity, and take those ones home who love him. There will be an end to the planet and those blind; those refusing to acknowledge him will lose out. There will be no more chances.

The hardest thing is watching the blind keep doing their earthly thing and not seeking God.

He is not a religion in a church. I am not a religious person; I am in love with Jesus. Sometimes I don’t show it…yes, I have flaws. We all have flaws, and being rich or important doesn’t make us any better than anyone else. None of us are second class citizens. He loves and died for all.

We can’t pretend to ignore the presence of God until the end of our life, playing our lives out in our own fashion. We can really mess up. One false move and we can ruin our life.

He is not a cruel judge who sits on a throne in heaven waiting for you and me to mess up. He is here—living in people. He wants is to know you and for you to know him. He loves our deceitful hearts, because he sees us through the eyes of Christ…the one who set us free.

We are free!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8,9 NIV


Freedom is a gift—take it.