Whether you know it as the Boldt Farm or the Back Farm
it’s all the same properties George Boldt called
Wellesley Island Farms
In addition to Hart Island, Boldt bought and improved a great deal of the land on Wellesley Island, as well as Alexandria Bay and numerous other islands. Altogether he owned over 3,000 acres in the Thousand Islands Area. The majority of his holdings were on Wellesley Island, the second largest island in the region. There he built a polo field, airfield, tennis courts, and a ‘cottage colony’ which he would rent out to his wealthy friends. He built several cottages, which include the Swiss Chalet, the Tennis House, the Birches, and the Lodge.
The Swiss Chalet, which is situated on a high point at the southern end of Wellesley Island, commands a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence in every direction. The Chalet was lighted by electricity and steam-heated throughout. The Tennis House derives its name from its grass tennis court. The Birches, located in a setting of silvery birches, adds another touch of beauty with its sweeping lawns. These cottages were leased to Mr. Boldts’s intimate friends.
He also built a very modern and highly productive farm called Wellesley Island Farms. The Wellesley Island Farm was comprised of several tracts of land, which were purchased by Boldt for the express purpose of creating a model farm. It would grow to become one of the finest farms in the east. This farm was massive and production was such that it supplied Boldt’s New York and Philadelphia hotels, the Waldorf-Astoria and the Bellevue-Stratford, as well as the Boldt family and their many guests and servants. On an average day, with no account for extra dinners, a thousand pounds of beef, and a similar amount of poultry, six hundred gallons of milk, five hundred dozen eggs, two hundred loaves of bread, twelve hundred dozen rolls plus maple syrup, pheasant, duck, lobster, etcetera, were served at the Waldorf ALONE! And over 34,000 pounds of ice were required. Again… these amounts were needed for one hotel each day! To supply his kitchens with fresh food and produce, he found it neccesary to produce it himself on his own farms on Wellesley Island.
Mr. Boldt built a farmhouse on Wellesley Island, which was, at one time, his residence. The farm was divided into two sections, the front and the back farm.
A mammoth barn located on the front farm was used for housing dairy cattle, insuring a good supply of milk, cream, and butter. The back farm, less than a mile away, consisted of several buildings that housed poultry and other small stock, a farmhouse and large storage tank equal in size to that of Alex Bay.
Several acres of plowed land were used to raise many varieties of farm produce. At one point Boldt shipped over 900 dozen eggs to his Hotels, among with sheep, pigs, vegetables and cut flowers.
The upper portion of the farm consisted of an 18-hole golf course, which covered a seventy-acre tract of land, and a golf club house. The course would go on to be one of the most exclusive in America.
Boldt continued tobe a firm believer in the value of land in the Thousand Islands as a good investment. He purchased Hopewell Hall from Adelaide Browning. This 400-acre estate consisted of highly developed and landscaped water frontage.
Since then, the land has mostly been subdivided into building lots and a golf course. Recently, a controversy raged over whether part of the original holdings might be used for a gambling casino and opposition by local citizens convinced the proponents to abandon the effort.