Friday, February 4, 2011

Alexandria Bay

Pullman's business, Pullman Palace Car Company, developed the railway sleeping "Pullman" car. He renamed the island near Alexandria Bay - from Sweet Island - to his family name. Grant visited the island's rustic site known then as Camp Charming.Soon cottages weren't enough for millionaire industrialists and Pullman led the way. They started building castles on their islands instead. In 1888, Pullman built the first 'castle' in the Thousand Islands, known as Castle Rest. Soon William Wyckoff on Carleton Island, Charles Emery on Calumet Island, George C. Boldt on Heart Island and Frederick Bourne on Dark Island would follow suit with castles of their own though Emery's later burned to the ground. Now all that remains is its grand granite staircase and rubble.Castle Rest and its original boathouse were also tragically lost in the '50s when short-sighted officials refused to relent on property taxes despite post-Depression realities. Their short-sighted policies lost the region its most historic landmark, not to mention the taxes it may still have garnered. It was also the reason TI Life's founder, Paul Malo abandoned the region in disgust in favor of the Adirondacks. His lifelong attachment to the islands eventually drew him back, but the loss of Castle Rest remained one of Malo's deepest regrets.

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