Blog Archives

Boldt Castle in Winter

Few places in Upstate New York are as romantic as Boldt Castle on the St. Lawrence River. George Boldt, general manager of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City and manager of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, began construction of the 120-room mansion in 1900, but it was never finished.

It was to be a grand tribute to the love of his life, Louise Kehrer Boldt. Tragically, Louise Boldt died suddenly in January 1904. Heartbroken, George Boldt sent workers at the castle a telegram telling them to cease construction immediately.

For the next 73 years, the partially-completed castle sat empty and abandoned, left to the mercy of vandals and the elements. In 1977, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority bought Heart Island and agreed to commit all proceeds from tours and events toward its restoration. Today, much of the structural damage has been reversed, and the ground floor is beautifully furnished. It looks particularly romantic, like something from a fairy tale, covered with snow and ice.

Fairground Inn Family Restaurant

Sign for Fairground Inn Family Restaurant at 852 Coffeen Street in Watertown, New York. The Fairground Inn, an Italian-American restaurant, was opened by the Coleman family in the 1930s.

The Black River in Winter

The Black River originates in the foothills of the Adirondacks and flows west to Lake Ontario in Upstate New York. It gets its name from its dark-colored water, stained by natural tannic acid from slowly moving through vegetation in the Adirondacks. I took most of these photos from a bridge in Watertown, but got a couple of shots in Dexter, Brownville, and Great Bend as well.

Self Service General Store

This former gas station and general store was located at the intersection of State Routes 180 and 12E in the tiny community of Limerick, north of Dexter, New York.

Porky’s Diner

Porky’s Diner (former) 6722 State Route 12E, Three Mile Bay, Jefferson County, New York. Built in 1985, it included a store, diner, gas station, bait shop, and living quarters. Not as old as I thought.

Ryan’s Jet Gas

Sign for Ryan’s Jet Gas at 740 State Street in Watertown, New York. Ryan’s Jet Gas, Inc. was founded in 1930 and has operated at this corner for over 80 years.

Gold Medal Flour

Vintage advertisement for Gold Medal Flour on the wall of Colesante’s Tavern at 480 Factory Street in Watertown, New York. The Washburn-Crosby Company became General Mills in 1928. Their original Gold Medal Flour factory was located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Crystal Restaurant

Former neon sign for Crystal Restaurant at 87 Public Square in Watertown, New York. Opened in 1925, it’s the oldest restaurant in Watertown. Dennis and Jerry Valanos owned the restaurant until 1943, when it was purchased by their head chef, Otto Dephtereos. Today, Peter (Otto’s grandson) and Libby Dephtereos manage the restaurant. A Prohibition-era advertisement for “All Legal Beverages” still appears in the window.