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Dark Island

Long before Walt Disney was planning theme parks with oversized mice for small children, businessman Frederick Gilbert Bourne made plans for a fairytale castle all of his own. In 1902, the head of sewing machine company Singer, bought Dark Island on the Saint Lawrence Seaway in New York state (on the border with Canada). As a surprise for his wife and nine kids, he brought in architect Ernest Flagg and Italian stonecutters and asked them to build his family a 28-room castle, inspired by Woodstock Castle in the writings of Sir Walter Scott. He filled it with secret passageways, tunnels and dungeons. There's even a portrait in the library that tips back so the host can spy on guests from behind it.

Dark Island

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