Dundas Castle -
The castle is located in what locals know and some maps identify as Craig-e-Clair (also Craigie Clair). The almost thousand acres of land surrounding the castle was amassed in the late 1880s by Bradford L. Gilbert, a noted New York City architect. Gilbert built an estate known as “Beaverkill Lodge” on the property. The hamlet of Craig-e-Clair was named after an Irish fishing village and translates as “Beautiful Mountainside.” Gilbert’s wife was a native of Ireland and chose the name because the Catskill scenery reminded her of home. The property was sold in 1903 to Morris Sternbach. Wurts-Dundas purchased the land and buildings from Sternbach in 1907.
Like many wealthy men of his time he wanted a mountain hideaway for his family and friends. In 1907, he purchased 964 acres of forestland with a view of the Beaverkill near Roscoe. The land had been a fishing retreat complete with a “Swiss” style country house. Not satisfied with the existing structure, Wurts-Dundas set out to build the finest mansion possible incorporating the wooden country house. The design of the castle is thought to have been inspired by late nineteenth century interpretations of medieval European castles constructed in Scotland.
Construction on the castle was begun in the early years of the First World War, and ceased in 1924, three years after Wurts-Dundas’ death in 1921. Never fully completed, the building represents an impressive example of the romanticized medievalism that emerged in American culture at the turn of the twentieth century. Although they visited during the construction period, neither Wurts-Dundas and his wife, Josephine – nor anyone else since – has lived in the castle.
Exploring is trespassing, so adventure over at your own risk!
Roscoe, NY US