St. Lawrence State Hospital in Ogdensburg, New York

Closed in 1983, the St. Lawrence State Hospital in Ogdensburg, New York was an integral part of the local community for nearly a century. It treated thousands of mentally ill, disabled, and epileptic patients. Today, most of the hospital’s old buildings are abandoned, but several were sold and opened as private treatment facilities and a NY State minimum security prison.

In 1886, a state commission selected Airy Point on the St. Lawrence River in Ogdensburg to build a “State Asylum for the Insane.” Architect I.G Perry designed it in a “cottage plan,” meaning it would be made up of several smaller buildings rather than one large institution. Construction began in 1888 and it opened two years later. A nursing school opened at the location in 1890.

According to Brenda Sandburg, whose grandfather was the St. Lawrence State Hospital senior business administrator for 37 years, in the 1940s and ’50s the hospital had poultry, dairy, and vegetable farms to produce food for its approximately 2,000 patients. It had its own fire and police departments; a post office and telephone system; carpentry, plumbing, and paint shops; a tailor shop; theater; and a store.

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Saint Lawrence River in Winter

Scenic View Park, Alexandria Bay
The St. Lawrence River forms the border between the U.S. and Canada in Upstate New York, flowing from the Atlantic Ocean all the way into Lake Ontario. Alexandria Bay is one of my favorite spots along the river. I love visiting there in summer, but it’s beautiful in winter as well (although everything is closed for the season).
Merry Christmas from Clayton, NY
I did sneak a picture in here from Clayton, New York (about 20 miles southwest of A-Bay). Some adventurous soul made a snowman on the river.
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Bri on the St. Lawrence River

Bri O in Winter, Scenic View Park

In this series, model Bri O poses along the St. Lawrence River, mostly with Boldt Castle in the distance. We took some pictures at the wooden gazebo at the Thousand Island Marina on Wellesley Island but only a few came out.

Bri O in Winter, Boldt Boat House

This is my favorite spot on the St. Lawrence. I love the history and romanticism of Boldt Castle. Bri’s jacket also contrasted nicely with the snow.

Boldt Castle in Winter

Boldt Castle and St. Lawrence River
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.
Boldt Castle in Winter
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.
Boldt Castle in Winter
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.