Dundas Castle in New York
Dundas Castle is surrounded by the Catskill Mountains’ forests, which is in Roscoe, New York. Craig-E-Clair Castle is another well-known name for it, perhaps to differentiate it from Dundas Castle in Scotland.
Peter Bond from Philadelphia, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The original Dundas Castle in Scotland was a castle built in the 15th century, and the one in New York is very similar to it. To be clear, we will only discuss the American Dundas Castle in this post, not the Scottish version.
Even though Dundas Castle looks like a grand medieval mansion, it wasn’t always like that. Bradford Lee Gilbert, an architect, constructed a summer home for himself at the beginning of the 1880s.
The place was given the name Craig-E-Clair by Gilbert, which is a real place in Scotland.This was thought to be in honor of Gilbert’s wife, who was Scottish. Maurice Sternbek purchased the land and house after Gilbert’s death in 1911, but Ralph Würz-Dundas purchased them shortly thereafter in 1915.
Dundas began the construction of a fairytale castle prior to the outbreak of World War I.
It would appear that Dundas included the frame of Gilbert’s original house in the design of his new castle.A bailey or courtyard was incorporated into the L-shaped building itself.
There are more than 30 rooms inside, including a dining room, sitting room, and impressive staircases.Even though there was clearly electricity inside the castle, majestic fireplaces were constructed in some of the rooms, and some of the bathrooms have exquisite porcelain tiles.
Forsaken Fotos from , Maryland, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
At the turn of the 20th century, New York’s Dundas Castle is an example of Anglo-American manor architecture from the Middle Ages. A bridge and imposing iron gates were constructed in the vicinity.
Due to his death in 1921, Dundas would not be able to witness the completion of his castle.
Josephine Wurts-Dundas, his wife, had mental health issues in the past. She ended up in a sanatorium a year after her husband died. As a result, Muriel Harmer Wurts-Dundas, their daughter, received her mother’s fortune and the castle.
Muriel tied the knot in 1930 and relocated to England.Muriel’s husband began to question his wife’s mental health after a while. Muriel, like her mother, was sent to a sanatorium.
Even the possibility that Muriel’s husband committed suicide has been raised. Consequently, no member of the family resided in the castle.
This property was purchased for $47,500 by an African American Masonic affiliate on May 2, 1949.
Prince Hall Temple Associates, a company established to manage property investments, was used to make the purchase.
Photo credit: Forsaken Fotos – Flickr
The castle was put to numerous uses after that. It was initially converted into a summer camp for children. Then, in 1949, the Masonic part of the locale obtained land and a house. At first, the Masons wanted to build a home for the poor and elderly. Instead, in the 1950s, they decided to turn the castle into a vacation home. However, the Masons eventually gave up on this idea.
There are numerous legends about Dundas’s abandoned castle. One talks about how Josephine’s ghost moves around the house. Three ponds in the grounds shaped like hearts are said to burst into blood at the full moon, according to another legend. Due to the fact that none of the original owners were able to live there, others contend that this castle is cursed.
The National Register of Historic Places was expanded to include Dundas Castle in the year 2001. The Open Space Institute and the Masons came to an agreement in 2005 to jointly guard the castle.
In 2018, it was made public that the castle had been purchased and is now owned by private individuals.