Tragedy & Vandalism
In 1904, tragedy struck when Louise Boldt suddenly died. George Boldt telegrammed the island and ordered an immediate halt to construction. The island fell silent. Boldt never finished it and right up until his death, in 1916, he never again stepped foot on Heart Island.
In 1918, a decision was made to open up Boldt Castle to the public. This was to be the beginning of 75 years of slow deterioration and destruction of the island buildings.
Years of neglect and abandonment took its toll on the island structures, as one-by-one each fell into a state of dis-repair.
Alster Tower deteriorated so badly from water penetration that the structural integrity of the building was threatened.
The Hennery roof collapsed and slowly some of the outter walls caved-in.
Fireplaces and mantles, as well as ornate plaster ceilings, costing thousands of dollars, cracked and in some places, fell away entirely, exposing wires and bricks.
Today, everywhere you look, grafitti scrawled all over the walls and ceilings, bear witness to the numbers of vandals the castle has attracted over the years, some of which walked away with things they shouldn’t have. Almost anything of any value on the island was carried off by thieves. Including the plumbing fixtures.
The advanced state of deterioration was aided when, in October of 1942, workers removed tons of scrap iron and steel from the buildings and from Boldt Castle itself. This was all done to ‘meet the need’ of the nation for metal to carry on the war.
Workers stripped the castle of radiators, two large boilers, and thousands of feet of pipe which conducted steam heat from the main structure to the other outbuildings. They ‘salvaged’ two large tanks which were intended for water reservoirs, and took all the decorative ironwork and elaborate heating systems.
So… time and the elements coupled with neglect and vandalism left their marks around the island.
On August 1, 1923, an old ice-house on Heart Island was ignited by unknown cause. The loss was estimated at only a few hundred dollars, as it was able to be restricted to that one building, but a number of shade trees and bushes were destroyed.
Tragedy loomed over Heart Island once again when, in 1939, the roof of the Power-House, Clock and Chimes Tower caught fire and completely burned down. A stray spark from a fireworks display landed on the roof of one of the turrets and ignited it, completely destroying the rooftop.
Years of sitting roofless and empty, the solid-stone walls slowly gave way and fell into the waters of the St.Lawrence River below.
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