Dundas Castle

Known as the Dundas Castle or Craig-E-Clare Castle, it was first built as a summer lodge by Bradford Lee Gibert in the early 1880s. When he died in 1911, the land and lodge was sold to Maurice Sternbeck, before it was acquired by Ralph Wurts-Dundas in 1915. Construction on the castle began soon after, but Dundas died in 1921 before seeing the castle ever completed. This was the first in a bout of misfortunes that befell the family.

In 1922, just a year of Dundas’ death, his wife Josephine Wurts-Dundas, was committed to a sanatarium (Most likely Riverdale Sanatorium known later as West Hill Sanatorium), without ever having lived in the castle. There are many stories which are recounted mostly as myth and legend. One of which is that Mrs.Dundas kept a prisoner in one section of the castle due to her deteriorated mental state. Another story is that she lost her mind because the local town denied her of being able to ride on horse back through the town while tossing gifts to the children.

After her commitment, her daughter Muriel Harmer Wurts-Dundas, inherited the fortune that had passed to her mother from her father which was thought to be $400,000, which is equal to nearly $4.8M today. Soon after, a large portion of the fortune was stolen by the castle care-takers, who were acting as her guardians at the time.

She went on to marry James R. Herbert Boone of Baltimore, Maryland in 1930. The wedding was considered “one of the most important of the summer, uniting members of families that figured prominently in the early history of this country.”

Together, they moved to England where they departed on an expedition to find “St.John’s Gold”. The expedition fell apart when the couple fired the historians and scientist helping in the search, and hired a mystic with a willow wand instead. Muriel’s mental health was put into question and she was eventually committed to a sanatorium just like her mother.

The keep passed through various hands of the Dundas family. For a time it was used as a summer camp for children, before being purchased by the area’s Masonic chapter as a retreat. It was added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Though the Masons still own the castle, it’s currently abandoned and fallen into ruin.

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Dundas Castle | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Comments are closed.