Likely one of Boldt Castle’s most photographed structures is the Power House and Clock Tower. Located on the eastern end of Heart Island, it was designed in the fashion of a Medieval Tower. To date it was one of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authorities largest reconstruction projects after a fire in 1939 severely damaged the building. Today it stands as George Boldt had originally intended, rising out of the St. Lawrence River from an underwater shoal. Connected to Heart Island by its one of a kind, picturesque, arched stone bridge. While its design is beautiful, it was designed as much for function as fashion. It housed two generators that would supply electricity to the entire island. Unfortunately much of the original equipment has been lost, only a few pieces remain on display. Today there are also photos and displays depicting the lifestyle of the people in the 1000 Islands at the turn-of-the-century.
The two steam generators that were housed here included a dynamo room that would supply electricity via direct current to nearly 500 incandescent lights across the island, and three Otto engines, which connected to a Gould pump that supplied water to the main castle. The cemented floor area was for storing coal, which was likely the predominate method of fueling engines. Coal was supplied to the building by barge through the threshold that opens to the waterway.
The Waldorf Astoria’s chief electrician, Fred Shutieib, was charged with installing electricity across the island. The upper level of the Power House would have served as the quarters for the engineers and mechanics.
The original Clock and Chimes Tower were created as a smaller reproduction of the Westminster Chimes in London, England. The silver chimes were purchased from one of the John Wannamaker’s stores and stood between 12 and 14 feet tall. It was said that the chimes played every half hour and that they could be heard for four miles across the river.
The Power House also suffered severe damage after the tile roof was accidentally set ablaze by fireworks in 1939, which left the building exposed to the elements until it restoration in 1990 and also destroyed the chimes and original clock. The restoration involved the installation of tile found in barrels of the castle’s foundation and the creating of a new stone bridge, complete with stairs.