Friday, May 27, 2011

A Quick Taste: History of Singer Castle.

 Commodore Frederick G. Bourne and his wife Emma are the couple in the center of the gathering. Click on the photo to see it larger.

Singer Castle – A Family Place

The five-story red roofed castle on Dark Island was built in the early 1900s as a "small hunting lodge" for Frederick Bourne who was the President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company from 1889-1905. Bourne and his family loved spending time at "The Towers" in the 1000 Islands and enjoyed the many activities that were available to residents and visitors alike. Boating, sailing, racing, tennis and golf were popular with the family in the summer and in the fall Bourne and his friends came for the duck hunting. After Bourne’s death in 1919 his youngest daughter Marjorie and her sister, May Bourne Strassburger purchased the castle from the estate. Marjorie Bourne and her husband Alexander Thayer continued to use and enjoy the castle with friends and family until the early 1960s.

From the mid-1960s to 2001 the castle, then called Jorstadt Castle was owned by the Dr. Harold Martin Evangelical Association and used for religious retreats and services. During those years families came to the castle for Sunday worship during the summer months.

In 2002 Dark Island was purchased by a group of island and castle enthusiasts who opened the castle for guided tours, overnight stays and weddings and special events. Now called Singer Castle after the source of much of Frederick Bourne’s fortune, it is once again a family place. Visitors of all ages enjoy coming to tour the fully furnished building and hearing about time gone by in the 1000 Islands. Overnight guests can pretend that they are the Kings and Queens or Princes and Princesses of the castle and Brides and Grooms can have their own Royal Wedding.

After visiting friends and "family," you can now keep track of the castle by visiting us on facebook, or by checking out the following websites:,, and

The castle is also featured in several recently published books and magazines including Bob and Patty Mondore’s Singer Castle Revisited, Patty Mondore’s River-Lations: Inspirational Stories and Photos of the 1000 Islands, Ian Corstine’s The very best of Ian Corstine’s 1000 Islands, Kathleen Quigley’s The Summer Cottage: Retreats of the 1000 Islands, Scott Ian Barry’s The Castles of New York, Mike Harwood’s The St. Lawrence River Rats and The Mystery of Singer Castle, Island Life Magazine published by Kim Lunman. Wealth TV has produced a feature on Singer Castle as part of a series entitled "Palatial Passport" and PBS continues to air its feature on Singer Castle.

Call 1-877-327-5475 for more information on Singer Castle.

The above dispatch and photo were received this day directly from Dark Island's president, Tom Weldon.