civil war memorabilia

A beautiful ruined castle I pass by every time I take the train home from school. It’s located on an island off the banks of the Hudson river, and emerges into view in a startling way as the train draws near. I look forward to seeing it each trip.

Today, to my great joy, I learned a little bit about it. It’s called Bannerman’s castle, and was built by a wealthy Scottish arms merchant,* both as a summer home and as a home for his inventory of scrap metal and ammunitions. The castle was never finished, and fell into the beautiful state of disrepair you see now. According to the Parks and Recreation man who was on the train today, it’s even possible to visit the island! I am so planning on going.

* Bannerman is credited with starting the war surplus business- shortly after the Civil War ended, he began buying surplus Civil War weapons and selling them to collectors. However, Bannerman did also sell functioning, then-modern weaponry to lots of people, which ended up causing him trouble.

I try not to be fazed by whatever someone else wants to collect, but this guy from Atlanta spent the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s collecting Confederate bills, with the longterm goal of acquiring enough to “become a Confederate millionaire.” Yikes, I wonder if he ever rolled around in it, squealing “I’m rich! I’m rich!” On his wall is a portrait of President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis. (Source: Life magazine, 4/13/53)