Sunday, April 19, 2020

Singer Castle

By Susan G Mathis

Originally called “The Towers,” Frederick Bourne affectionately dubbed it his “hunting lodge.” Now named “Singer Castle” it’s set on Dark Island, one of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River. It’s the only fully completed and existing castle of the Thousand Islands Gilded Age era. The castle can be toured from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and you can even spend the night there! I’ve toured the castle several times but still haven’t seen it all. One day, I hope to spend the night there.

Frederick Bourne, a New York resident, self-made millionaire, and the fifth president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company (thus the name “Singer Castle”), bought the seven-acre island and contracted Ernest Flagg, a famous architect of the time, to design the magnificent castle to surprise his wife and children. Flagg chose to design it much like the English castle in Sir Walter Scott’s book, Woodstock, complete with eight fireplaces, eight bathrooms, dungeons, secret passageways, a piazza, a portrait of King Charles II that can be opened to spy on guests, and more.

Construction began in 1903, but to support such a massive stone castle, Bourne bought nearby Oak Island and a plot of land in Canada to bring tons of granite to the island over water and the winter ice to build up the island. Two years later the 28-room, four-story castle was a wonder to behold. 

Three towers/turrets, secret panels and passageways, massive stone arches, and the dungeon add mystery to the place. The island also includes three boathouses (one that houses a powerhouse), and an icehouse. 

The castle is completely furnished with furnishings, a library full of books, dozens of sewing machines, period dishware, and all kinds of cool stuff from that era, most of which were actually there during the Bournes’ ownership and residence. Medieval weapons and suites of armor complete the castle’s ambiance.  

Want to add this to your bucket list? Check out more here:
Leave your answer, comments, or questions on the post below and join me on May 19th for my next post. 

Check out Devyn’s Dilemma, Book 2 of the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series You can experience this wonder yourself and/or read about it in my latest novel, Devyn’s Dilemma.

1910, Thousand Islands, New York. Others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, but to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart.
Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her.


  1. Singer Castle is definitely on my bucket list as is the thousand island area. I was unfamiliar with the islands until I started reading your posts. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It sounds very interesting! I hope that picture with the spyholes isn't in one of the rooms that are rented!!! Thanks for posting.

  3. I had never heard of Singer Castle, but I'd love to see it!