New York Attractions September 02, 2016
This Hidden, Abandoned Castle In New York Has A Mysterious Past
Urban Explorers across New York may already be familiar with this place, but to many of us residents this unique treasure has remained a hidden secret. Out past the majority of our Finger Lakes, you’ll find the small village of Dansville where a lively hotel once thrived.
Haven’t figured out which castle we’re talking about yet? Then let’s continue and explain the story of this property’s past.
Going by several different names over time, you may know this place as the Dansville Castle, Jackson Sanatorium or simply The Castle On The Hill.
It all started when an underground spring emerged through a rock in Dansville in 1798, now known as Breakout Creek. After it was discovered that the water had healing powers, a business man by the name of Nathaniel Bingham would buy the property in the early 1850's. Bingham learned of the mineral water and thought that this would be the perfect place to set up a spa. Residents of Saratoga Springs, this seems like it would make sense...right? Unfortunately after opening the Dansville Water Cure in 1854, the business never really picked up, forcing Bingham to sell the property.
The next in line to take over the property for a considerable amount of time would be Caleb Jackson in 1870, calling it Our Home On The Hillside. A true believer in the magic of hydrotherapy, Jackson once found himself nearly on his death bed, using Hydrotherapy to help him gain his full health back. After making quite the name for the castle, in a sad turn of events a knocked over lantern would send the entire place up into flames in 1882. Jackson quickly had the castle rebuilt in the matter of a year, making sure this time that it would be completely fire-proof. Unfortunately it wouldn't be too long after that patients would begin dying down in numbers, finding modern medicine to be more appealing than hydrotherapy.
The last real knight in shining armor to bring the castle back to life? Bernarr McFadden! McFadden bought the property in 1929 and named it the Physical Culture Hotel. If you can't tell by the name, McFadden was a huge fitness guru, holding annual events that had people walking on foot from Dansville all the way to New York City.
McFadden managed to be the only owner to ever really turn this property into something magical. During the time of the Great Depression, he created a hotel and hospital that while curing the ill also served as a place for celebrities to indulge themselves. McFadden was a man of wealth, using his money to make the castle something extravagant and unforgettable. One of the favorite events for visitors to partake in? Late night dances on the roof under the stars that gave you panoramic views of Dansville, a sight to be seen.
After living a life worth a thousand lifetimes, McFadden would pass away in 1955 at the age of 87 years old. It was only six years prior that McFadden had celebrated his 81st birthday by going parachuting, a character to never be forgotten. A man by the name of William Fromcheck would go on to takeover the hotel until after a steady decline of visitors would force him to close the castle doors forever in 1971. This would be the last time the castle would be full of life.
Over years and years rumors of the castle being restored swirled around town, only for it to continue to wither away. Never had the chance to see what this abandoned castle in New York looked like? Watch the visual tour brought to you by YouTube user
Brian Sterowski to see what this place looks like today:
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