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What Did It Take to Equip a Castle?

The article may be redundant to those who have read my biography of Charles G. Emery, but a review can be constructive. I also want to give the reader some extent of the wealth involved at Calumet Castle and the summer homes of the Gilded Age. Calumet Castle Inventory

A quick recap of Mr. Emery’s extraordinary life; born in New Portland, Maine in 1836 to a very successful family. His uncle Eben Goodwin was a tobacco merchant in Brooklyn and cousins operated a shipping company out of Boston and a ship building business in Maine. Charles’ father Hiram was a dentist in Boston, but he also invested in several enterprises, including oil exploration in West Virginia.

Charles wanted to go into the tobacco business. His first attempt in the tobacco industry was as a buyer in San Francisco, where most of his children were born. He had some difficulties there and returned to the East to join his Uncle Eben in Goodwin Tobacco Company and the rest is history. After joining his uncle, a man named James Buchanan Duke, whose family was a long-time player in tobacco, decided to create a tobacco trust (nice word for monopoly).

At the time, along with Duke’s company and Uncle Eben’s there were three others that combined controlled about 90% of the tobacco sold in this country. Charles bought out his uncle through a series of transactions, before Duke’s plan began. About 1890 the American Tobacco Company was formed out of those five companies. Charles owned a large share of the company and was a trustee and treasurer of what be described as a money-making machine.

Charles had come to the Thousand Islands in about 1883 and began plans for a summer home. He purchased Calumet Island and built a wooden cottage to start, later it would be torn down to make way for a large “stone house” as he called it, which later would be known as Calumet Castle. Charles spent in excess of $250,000 in 1890’s dollars on Calumet Island.

The castle has been gone since demolition and fire in 1956/7. Calumet Castle’s demise had unintended consequences for Clayton and the Islands. It was the first of the great stone houses to be built, Boldt would constructed is castle, and Bourn his “hunting lodge” (AKA: Singer Castle). Emery started it all, but time and inflation would take a toll on Calumet and Emery’s 1915 $100,000 trust fund just wasn’t providing enough cash to maintain the property in the late 1940s. Charles had provided for his son and grandson to have life use of the castle, but Frank, his son, married a Hill and her family had their own island and Frank died just five years after his father. The grandson, Charles Goodwin Emery II used it some of the time in the 1930’s, but preferred California.

The castle was sold, a great loss for what could have been a great addition to tourism for the Islands and especially Clayton. Did you ever ask yourself what it would take to outfit a “stone house” or castle in the Thousand Islands? Well when Charles died he was a resident of Jefferson County, NY and his probate occurred in the county seat, Watertown. Emery’s probate records take up about seven file boxes! An extraordinary inventory was taken of everything, and I mean everything, in the castle.

Emery was an art collector and attended shows in Europe and New York. The castle contained hundreds of works of art, most of which was sold at auction in New York City, but only after Frank Emery had chosen what he wanted. Here is the list from the inventory of the paintings in the castle:

Paintings & Watercolors at Calumet Castle:

Oil painting "Marine" by C. S. Dorian, $15.00

Oil painting "On the Grand Canal" Lucchelli, $7.00

Watercolor "On the Grand Canal" S. Pale, $6.00

Lot prints, photos and watercolors, $10.00

Landscape by Leon Richet, $200.00

Oil painting Lake Scene Unsigned, $5.00

Oil painting River Scene Unsigned, $6.00

Etching, Head of Cow, By Carlton Wiggins, $10.00

Oil painting, Man Smoking, Unsigned, $25.00

Oil painting, River Scene, by Albert, $6.00

Watercolor "Apple Blossoms" by Hasbrouck, $10.00

Watercolor Mediterranean Scene by P. Galtes, $6.00

Watercolor Venetian Scene by Brancourt, $6.00

Watercolor, Greek Girl, by A. Salanti, $7.00

Watercolor, Cattle Drinking, by Prankinkoest, $10.00

Watercolor, Italian Girl, by Lazzos, $6.00

Watercolor, Venetian Girl by A. Salanti, $7.00

Oil painting, Still Life by Viarlovzky, $15.00

Oil painting, River scene by L. Fanzi, $15.00

Oil painting, Farm scene by W. VarSchuer, $20.00

Oil painting, An Old Salt by S. Sidoli, $10.00

Painting on panel, the After Dinner Nap, $15.00

Oil painting, An Italian Peasant by P. Corini, $15.00

Oil painting, In The Orchard by Japy, $15.00

Painting on panel, a Student by E. Lougal, $10.00

Oil painting, A Cavalier by E. Lougal, $10.00

Oil painting, An Eastern Street by A. Hernonjat, $7.00

Oil painting, Marine by Theodore Weber, $50.00

Oil painting, Crossing Ferryboat by Veyrassat, $35.00

Oil painting, Italian Boy by N. Wansch, $6.00

Panel painting, The Musician by Agresti, $10.00

Oil painting, Italian scene unsigned, $10.00

Oil painting, Neapolitan scene by L. Testi, $15.00

Oil painting, Spanish Castle by Tardineu, $15.00

Watercolor by G. Bagioli, $5.00

Watercolor, Italian Boy by E. Levocatti, $5.00

Painting on porcelain unsigned, $15.00

Painting, In The Wine Cellar by L. Gayler, $6.00

Painting on porcelain after John Steen, $15.00

Small watercolors, paris St. by Julien Latour, $24.00

Watercolors, Canal scene by F. Sala, $14.00

Watercolor, Italian Flower Girl by Levorati, $7.00


Small watercolors, $15.00

Watercolor, In The Garden by A. Orselli, $10.00

Painting, Still Life by P. Caspers, $15.00

Painting, Landscape by Japy, $20.00

Painting, landscape by Hibbard, $10.00

Painting, Flowers signed T.J.C., $5.00

Painting, Woodland scene by M. Fontana, $30.00

Watercolor, On The Grand Canal Prosdocimi, $10.00

Watercolor, Blond Beauty by A. Achini, $8.00

Painting, Italian Bride by A. Vincenti, $15.00

Painting, Italian Peasant by P. Torrini, $10.00

Watercolor, In the Cellar by L. DeCosta, $10.00

Painting, The Accident by Collozi, $35.00

Photographic panel, classical subject, $6.00

Italian Triplex Painting, $25.00

Panel painting, Egyptian Water Carrier unsign, $10.00

Pen and ink sketch, $5.00

Watercolor, Flowers by M. Cabor, $25.00

Painting, Landscape by F. Carcano, $75.00

Watercolor, Autumn by J. Jeannol, $30.00

Watercolor, Monk by A. Schwickes, $10.00

Watercolor, Dutch Sabots by M. A. Bell, $10.00

Watercolor, Pulling the Cork by Schincker, $7.00

Oil painting, Interior by Victor Lecomte, $15.00

Oil painting, Italian scene by C. Buttero, $15.00

Italian panels, $15.00

Framed photogravures, $15.00

Watercolor, Egyptian scene by H. Bacon, $10.00

Oil painting, Cavalryman by E. Berne-Bellecour, $75.00

Oil painting, Feeding Rabbits by F. Sclesinger, $30.00

Pastel, Marine, by C. S. Mottram, $50.00

Watercolor, chess Game by M. Roberti, $15.00

Painting, River scene by Fritz Thaulow, $125.00

Painting, Cows in Pasture by Julian Dupre, $125.00

Pastel, by H. H. Breekenridge, $50.00

Watercolor, Oriental scene by Henry Bacon, $15.00

Painting, Head of Young Girl by C. Bianchini, $20.00

Painting, A. Cavalier unsigned, $35.00

Watercolor by V. Colombo, $10.00

Watercolor by A. Onselli, $10.00

Total Painting and Watercolors: $1,732.00




Over one hundred items and remember those are 1915 dollars or $41,923.00 in 2017 dollars. This does not include the appreciation in the value of art. These inventory values were for inheritance purposes and may tend to be low. Who were some these artists:

“Thaulow received a number of honors for his artistic activity, including his appointment as commander of the 2nd Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1905. He received the French Legion of Honor, Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus from Italy and the Order of Nichan Iftikhar from Tunisia. He died in Volendam, in the Netherlands. The National Gallery of Norway features 37 of his works. Other prominent displays include The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard University.” Wikipedia. A review of the current prices for Thaulow paintings at auction run $20,000 to $50,000. askART.

Henry Bacon, 1839-1912: “Starting in 1895 Bacon limited his activity to the watercolor medium and he began to visit exotic locales, such as Egypt, Ceylon and Greece.  An example of this genre is Bacon's A Street in Cairo (1905; Worcester Art Museum). Around 1900 the Bacons moved to London.  Mrs. Bacon published Our Houseboat on the Nile in 1902 and her husband died in Cairo in 1912. He was also one of the first Americans to be admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and became a promoter of the use of watercolor in pure washes, without opaque coloration. He also showed his genius for Impressionist effects of weather and light, particularly on reflective surfaces such as water.” askART, webpage.

Julian Dupre, 1851-1910: “Working during the last half of the 19th century, Julien Dupré was an artist, considered by most, to be one of the leading exponents of the second generation of Realist painters; a group that also includes Leon Lhermitte, Jules Bastien-Lepage and Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret. Like J.F. Millet and J. Breton, before them, these artists devoted their artistic careers to the depiction of the toils of the French peasant - often seen hard at work in the fields.” askART, webpage. Dupre works fetch a wide range of prices, he is known for painting cows and they appear to be is most valuable from $2,000 to $113,000. askART.

Felix Sclesinger, German, 1833-1910 , “Feeding Rabbits” which is the very picture from the inventory, thus it once hung in Calumet Castle, many thanks to askART webpage. This painting sold at auction in 2016 for $20,600.Painting

“Born in Hamburg, the painter Felix Schlesinger began his artistic training in 1848 with Friedrich Heimerdinger in Hamburg. His further apprenticeship took place in Antwerp, Dusseldorf, and Paris. From 1861 to 1863, he was active in Frankfurt am Main, and then went to Munich. Schlesinger is known for his children's depictions, which were already very popular during his lifetime, especially in Germany, England and America. askART, webpage.

Etienne-Prosper Berne Bellecoeur, a painter, was born in Boulogne-sur-Wed France, July 29th, 1838, and died there Nov. 29, 1910. He was a pupil of Picot and F. Barrias at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and studied portraits and landscapes, genre and military subjects. askART, webpage.

“Léon Richet was born in Solesmes (Sathe), Normandy in 1847 and he died in Fountainbleau (Seine-et-Marne) on May 26, 1907. He was a student of Narcisse Virgle Diaz de La Pena (1807/9-1876), Charles Victor Eugéne Lefébvre (1805-1882) and Louis Jean Boulanger (1806/7-1867). Diaz had the greatest impression on Richet, and it is Diaz is remembered historically. There was a great difference in age between Diaz and Richet, which most likely explains the great respect on the part of the student for his master.” askART, webpage.

Calumet was on an island so a boat would be an important item. Here is the inventory:

text list for photo

Calumet the boat$398,622 in 2017 dollars, but remember these values were for inheritance purposes and should be considered in that light. The yacht “Calumet” was 146 feet long, an equivalent 2017 yacht would run in the 10’s of millions. A 158 foot, built in 2000, is now listed at SYS International Yacht Sales for $50,000,000, cheaper can be found, but you get the idea.

The yacht “Calumet” in dry dock on Washington Island. Photo courtesy T I Museum.

The inventory goes on and on, sheets, towels, beds, tables, china, rugs, lamps, and every other thing you would need to fully equip a castle! A copy of the inventory can be seen at the Thousand Islands Museum, 312 James Street, Clayton, sixty some pages of legal paper type written!

By Rexford M. Ennis

Copyright 2016 Rexford M. Ennis All Rights Reserved

Rex Ennis has written several articles for TI Life.  His bio is recorded in Contributors, in December, 2008. Rex has published two important books on the Thousand Islands.  The first, published in 2010, Toujours Jeune Always Young, the biography of Charles G. Emery was reviewed in the June 2010 issue.  The second, Saints, Sinners and Sailors of the Gilded Age: A compendium of biographical sketches, centered on the Gilded Age, in the Thousand Islands, describes the biographies of every name appearing on an 1889 map, published by Frank H. Taylor, called: “Map of the Thousand Islands; Hotels, Parks and Cottages.”  See the book review in our July 2011 issue; you will find the map described in the July 2010 issue, and in the August 2011 issue.  Luckily for TI Life readers, Rex is hard at work on a new book – so stay tuned.

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Sue Schongalla
Comment by: Sue Schongalla
Left at: 10:43 AM Thursday, June 15, 2017
What a shame the castle is no more. Imagine the interior with all of that magnificant art! Thank you Mr. Ennis for your interesting and informative article.