Written by John Peach
posted on August 13, 2014 07:39
The most widely recognized pump house in the 1000 Islands stands at the downriver end of Heart Island. George Boldt’s mammoth equipment building housed the pumps to service Boldt Castle, as well as the power generators.
Many of these outbuildings remain standing years after the main houses were destroyed by fire, neglect, or an owner’s desire for a newer cottage.
Working with the loss of those historic cottages, I thought it would be interesting to do a pictorial article of some of my favorite pump houses and ask you, the readers, to fill us in on the history of the pump houses – as well as some history about the main houses they supported in the prime of their lives.
Having grown up on Manhattan Island, with its wonderful swept roof style pump house containing the remnants of several generations of cast iron water pumps, I was always fascinated with the machinery in these out buildings.
The pumps housed in the structures, often referred to as “one lungers,” were cast iron piston pumps that made a chug-a-chug sound as they labored to lift the water from the River and push it up into iron or wooden tanks situated at a high point on the island. Most pumps were powered by cantankerous internal combustion engines, although several of the islands used early electric motors to power the pumps.
Gravity was used to allow the water to flow into the cottages. Only as I got older did I start to appreciate the architecture and construction of the numerous stone and wooden pump houses that grace the shorelines of our islands.
Several of my favorite pump houses still stand in close proximity to original island cottages. A few sport flower displays in the rock and roof structures.
And it is apparent as you boat through different areas of the Thousand Islands that individual masons had their own signature designs, incorporating different roof lines, window openings, and door details.
Where are they?
I am listing the photo of the structure and hope that you will be able to identify and tell us something about the original main house. Please use the comment section below, and refer to the individual photograph, or send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will update this article as we gather the information.
[Click to enlarge each photograph]
Author’s note: My apologies in advance to everyone who owns or knows of a favorite pump house that I have not included in this article. If we get enough photos and descriptions sent in, perhaps we will be able to do a follow up article this fall. Enjoy the River. John
By John Peach, Huckleberry Island, Ivy Lea
John and his wife, Pat, live on Huckleberry Island, near Ivy Lea, from May through October. The rest of the year they reside in Princeton, NJ, although John continues to make frequent return visits to the Islands throughout the winter. John retired several years ago from his career in international business. His family has owned a place in the Thousand Islands for over 50 years. John is a past president of Save The River, and is still active on the Save The River board.
Click here to see John’s other articles for TI Life.