One of the highlights of our vakay in the Thousand Island area of upper NY state/Canada was a visit to the Singer castle. That is Singer as in Singer sewing machines and there had to be a machine in almost every room in the castle! Our trip to the castle consisted of an almost four hour cruise through "Millionaire's Row" in the Thousand Islands and a tour of the Singer estate.
We approach the front door after a wicked uphill climb from the boat house.
Singer Castle was built on Dark Island by Frederic Bourne, who at the age of 36 became the Director and President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. In his teens, Bourne worked at the Clark O.N.T. Thread company and from there worked his way up in the rapidly growing home sewing industry. I am thinking this must be sort of like our current dot.com billionaires as Mr. Bourne was very very wealthy from the growth and sales of home sewing machines. Besides an apartment at the Dakota in New York City, Bourne also owned an estate of over a thousand acres in Oakdale, Long Island. Clearly he was no stranger to extravagant real estate!
View from the castle of a lovely sitting area facing the St. Lawrence Seaway and the U.S.
One of the many secret passages used by the serving staff so they would not be visible ot the guests. The passages were also built as they were in the book "Woodstock" by Sir Walter Raleigh.
There is a gorgeous boat house and five story clock tower. The castle is currently owned by a group of investors in Europe who buy these types of properties and turn them into tourist attractions. The grounds are lovely but I really think would be much nice if owned by a not for profit that would plow the profit back into the estate. There is another nearby castle where this is done, Boldt Castle, and the difference is amazing. I will say that everything in the Singer Castle is of the period and much original to the Bourne family.
The cornice and drapery that you see on the left above were silk velvet and original to the Bourne ownership. They were navy blue when first installed and time has faded them to this mustard shade. In between the folds they are still navy blue!
There were nooks and crannies throughout the castle where you could curl up with a book or just look out at the incredible view of the neighboring islands and the St. Lawrence.
Now for some textiles! This tapestry above was hung in the library.
These two were a silk matelasse bedspread and coordinating pillow original to the owner. I just wanted to fix every undone thread I saw. This fabric was exquisite.
This is a beautifully machine quilted spread and sham, one of a pair. I am thinking this was maybe done on a Singer machine? It was really lovely. I love the different shades of thread used. It gives the quilting a lot more dimension.
Above is the beautiful ceiling on the fourth floor of the female staff's dormitory. The men had their own quarters in the boathouse, of course connected through passageways. I can just imagine the clandestine meetings in those secret stone passages! The higher you slept in the castle the less important you were socially. This dormitory was on the fourth floor. The Bournes had their rooms on the first floor, guests went to the second and third and staff was on the fourth floor or out in the boathouse.
Women of high society would never want to have the slightest tan as it meant you might be someone who actually did work. So when the ladies wanted to take some air that went out on the "veranda" that you see here and stayed in its shade.
This is the side of the castle facing Canada and the arched windows are the dining room. Gorgeous!
If you look close you can see an osprey's nest on the top of the chimney near the wethervane. We saw many osprey and great blue herons while up here. We also saw what felt like twenty pound biting gnats at the Cape Vincent Lighthouse! Ouch! There were literally heavy clouds of the little buggers.
Another day is over as we sit on our deck of our cottage and admire the sunset over Carrolton Island in the St. Lawrence Seaway. I hope you enjoyed this bit of needlework history.
Now, back to some sewing.....!!!.....Bunny
ETA: In answer to Michelle's request: