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1000 Islands Boathouses

Written by on November 7, 2018 in Island Life Magazine


The 1000 Islands is internationally-renowned for its castles and cottages but one cannot overlook another architectural gem: The beloved boathouse. Some are over a century old built as lavish retreats on their own, with bedrooms, dining rooms, fireplaces and even ballrooms. Grand boathouses dotted the River during its Golden Age when wealthy business barons owned fleets of vessels, including steam yachts, skiffs and raced the River in wooden speed boats with names like Snail and P.D.Q. (Pretty Damn Quick). Today some of them have been remarkably restored to the glamour of the Gilded Era, while others like the epic boathouse on Ina Island near Rockport faded away and forever razed from our riverscape. Other boathouses are practical ports of call. Like every island, every boathouse has a story to tell. 

The Boldt Yacht House on Wellesley Island N.Y. Photo by Kim Lunman.

Wellesley Island

The same man who built Boldt Castle on Heart Island constructed one of the most palatial boathouses in the 1000 Islands: The Boldt Yacht House. Waldorf-Astoria hotelier George C. Boldt built the yacht house in 1899 — one year before the construction of Boldt Castle on Heart Island started. The Boldt Yacht House is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historical Places. It was built to accommodate as many as 60 of Boldt’s watercraft, including skiffs, steam yachts, runabouts and his luxury houseboat, La Duchesse, on display at Clayton’s Antique Boat Museum. Today the Boldt Yacht House, located across from Heart Island, is also a popular tourism attraction.

Cozy’ Boathouse

A cozy boathouse on Wellesley Island has a perfect spot for a classic wooden boat named Cozy. Photo by Kim Lunman.

A wooden boat named Cozy finds comfort in this smaller historic boathouse on Wellesley Island across from Belle Island and Boldt Castle’s Heart Island in the heart of Millionaire’s Row.

Dark Island

Singer Castle Boathouse on Dark Island N.Y. Photo by Kim Lunman.

Singer Castle on nearby Dark Island in Chippewa Bay runs its gift shop out of the castle’s historic boathouse. The original owner of the 28-room castle, Frederick Bourne, a Commodore of the New York City Yacht Club, also owned an impressive fleet of boats and yachts.

Tar Island

A trio of classic wooden boats on Tar Island near Rockport Ontario. Photo by Kim Lunman

A trio of classic wooden boats named Pop’s Folly, Phylstar and Alibi II find tranquil refuge in this boathouse on this Canadian island near Rockport. The 1000 Islands is known for its classic wooden boats and Clayton’s Antique Boat Musuem, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Round Island

A charming boathouse on Round Island near Clayton N.Y. Photo by Kim Lunman

This charming boathouse on Round Island near Clayton called ‘Sans Souci’ says it all. The translation from French to English means ‘without worry’ or ‘carefree.’

Cherry Island

The cottage on Cherry Island called the Yard Arm Boathouse has been rebuilt to modern-day grandeur on Millionaire’s Row near Alexandria Bay.

Reciprocity Island

Reciprocity Island near Ivy Lea and Hill on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River. Photo by Kim Lunman

A Canusa (Canada/U.S.A.) flag hangs at this boat port at Reciprocity Island, a private Canadian island located near Ivy Lea off the shores of Hill Island near the Canadian span of the 1000 Islands International Bridge.

Longvue Island

Longvue Island near Alexandria Bay N.Y. on Millionaire’s Row. Photo by Kim Lunman.

This historic boathouse with its distinctive clocktower  is located on Millionaire’s Row near Alexandria Bay. Also known as Artificial Island, it was built by Hudson P. Rose in the late 1800s and originally called Rosette Island. Rose built up an underwater shoal to create his own island when it was difficult to find one for sale here.

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