Singer Castle and its secrets (11 photos + 1 video)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
16 April 2024

Tales of the dark Middle Ages have long become classics and a favorite genre of contemporaries. Remnants of this time are easily found throughout Europe in the form of castles.

There are also castles in America that few people know about. Most of these houses are mansions built to entertain the super rich. But one castle is something completely different - a castle full of secrets and mysteries. This is Singer's castle on the Dark Island.

Dark Island

Dark Island is a 2.83-hectare island in New York State. The island is located a few kilometers from the border between the United States and Canada. It's so close to the Canadian border that you can watch an American sunrise on Dark Island and turn the other way to see a Canadian sunset.

Singer Castle

Singer Castle is the only structure on Dark Island, named after the island's first owner, Frederick Gilbert Bourne, a multimillionaire. Born worked for the Singer sewing machine company, gradually rising through the ranks. And he became the fifth director and president of the company at the rather young age of 36.

Bourne bought the Dark Island so that he and his family could have a secret hideout. He purchased the island for $5,000 and then spent a hundred times that amount building the castle. The work was carried out by architect Ernest Flagg.

Frederick Gilbert Bourne

This Gothic Revival style castle was inspired by Woodstock Castle, described in Sir Walter Scott's book Woodstock, or the Cavalier (1826).

Several tons of granite were used for construction, and Italian masons were brought in to help. The castle had a 5-story clock tower with a dial that was rumored to be made of pure gold.

The castle itself, along with the clock tower, had 28 bedrooms, a large and ornate living room, kitchen and dining room. There is a very large wine cellar, a breakfast room with Gothic style arched windows and a great hall. The large hall is decorated in a medieval style with knight's armor on either side of the entrance. It has a massive marble fireplace and a stunning library with walnut paneled walls. Antique Singer sewing machines are placed throughout the castle.

The grounds include a squash court, a traditional rose garden and three boat houses.

The uniqueness of Singer Castle

Singer Castle is a stunning piece of architecture, but it is primarily known for some unique features. For some unknown reason, Singer Castle is full of secret passages. There was a book in the library that, when pulled, could unlock a panel in the wall leading to the wine cellar.

The wall next to the fireplace also served as the entrance to a secret hatch. On the wall in the living room hangs a framed portrait that can be tilted forward or backward so that the person standing behind it can discreetly peer into the room. In Bourne's office in the tower there is a secret hatch leading to the dungeon.

Today, the castle's servants continue to find new secrets throughout the house. A trap door located under the floor was discovered in the servants' quarters. Employees believe that valuables were hidden here when the family did not live in the castle. Thieves would never think of looking for valuables in the servants' rooms, so this room was an ideal place to store them.

The door on the floor could be opened by pulling the hook in Bourne's closet. There are tunnels in the walls and under the floor of the castle, and grates were built into the walls themselves so that someone could peer into the rooms without being noticed.

Some of these secrets are easy to explain, while others remain a mystery. Secret passages were used mainly by servants: they could look into the rooms when the Bournes had guests. Servants could see when someone needed a drink refilled or when the next dish was served.

Almost every room in the castle has secret buttons, by pressing which you can call the servants. A tunnel from the kitchen to the dining room makes sense, as does a pantry in the maids' quarters.

However, this only explains some of the architectural oddities. Why the dungeon was built, and why certain passages led to very specific rooms, remains a mystery to this day.

When Singer Castle was completed in 1905, Born had just retired, allowing him to fully enjoy privacy and luxury with his family.

Born died in 1919, and since then Singer Castle has had several owners. As recently as 2006, Sotheby's International Realty listed the property for a staggering $24.5 million. The property remained unsold. For now, the castle remains a tourist attraction where you can stay in a suite for over $700 a night. Enjoy the luxury of the interior and try to unravel the secrets of the castle, many of which still remain a mystery.

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