Bannerman & Castle

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72 usmc
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Bannerman & Castle

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An interesting article appeared in the new issue of FMGs Gun's Magazine Special Edition 2020, Classic Vintage & Surplus Firearms, Volume # 85, pp. 86-87 Godfather of Mil Surp; Francis Bannerman's offer you couldn't refuse
Some nice views of the castle so I looked up some information since I have an original Bannerman Catalog. For those that would like a reprint of the 1927 Bannerman sons catalog see ( price is bogus they can be had for $15; https://www.amazon.com/Bannerman-Catalo ... 0910676208


What follows are some articles about his life
published in a few recent magazines. Just three for trivia. :geek: :geek:
Frank-Bannerman.jpg
Frank-Bannerman.jpg (31.64 KiB) Viewed 1946 times
October 14, 2019 Topic: History Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: Hudson RiverFrancis BannermanCastleBulletsMilitary

source https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... page=0%2C1
How This New York Family Became One Of America's Biggest Arms Dealer
And lived on top of millions of rounds of ammunition

by Warfare History Network

In central New York, 50 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River, is a small spit of land known as Bannerman Island. Originally called Pollepel Island, the tiny island was noted for tales of ghosts, and the local Native Americans would dare to visit it only during daylight. Early Dutch settlers used the island as a signpost marking the end of a rough passage through the Hudson highlands, and it also served as a strategic defense point for the patriots during the Revolutionary War.
Today, Bannerman Island provides a resting place for the ruins of a genuine Scottish castle, although the castle was not built to serve as a home. A closer look at the structure’s side reveals the raised-relief words “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal,” denoting the original purpose of castle and serving as a huge advertisement for the Bannerman family business. The sign could be seen clearly by passengers riding Hudson River steamboats and the New York Central Railroad.
Francis Bannerman VI: Businessman at 12-Years-Old

The Bannerman family was descended from the legendary Scottish clan MacDonald, which had been largely wiped out by the rival Campbell clan in a massacre at Glencoe in 1692. The Campbells had sworn allegiance to the English throne, but the MacDonald clan refused to offer a similar pledge of loyalty, which prompted the slaughter by the Campbells of the MacDonald males between the ages of 12 and 70. The name of Bannerman is said to have originated during the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 when a family member heroically rescued a captured banner from the enemy and escaped into the hills. The Scottish king Robert Bruce bestowed upon him the honor of “banner man,” which ultimately became the family name.

Francis (Frank) Bannerman VI immigrated to the United States with his parents from Dundee, Scotland, in 1854, when he was three years old. The family settled in Brooklyn, where Frank’s father, true to the family name, began the business of reselling flags and ropes that he had purchased at local Navy auctions. He was accompanied by young Frank, who soon began making money on the side by collecting scrap items from the harbor and reselling them.

At the onset of the Civil War, Frank’s father taught him all he needed to know about how Navy auctions operated before he left to join the Union Navy, leaving the 12-year-old boy in charge of the family business. Frank promptly quit school to help support the family full time in the absence of his father. He dragged the river with a large grappling hook for scrap items to sell to local junk buyers, and he quickly learned to repair many of the items he found and sell them for a profit. By the time Frank was 14, his small, individual money-making projects had turned into a full-blown, thriving business. By the time his father returned from the war, young Frank had accumulated enough merchandise for the family to start one of the very first military surplus stores

The U.S. Government Sells Surplus for Scrap

At the end of the Civil War, the United States government was left with huge stocks of military surplus, which it began auctioning off to buyers for scrap metal. Huge stocks of surplus arms also went onto the government auction block. Frank promptly bought up all the swords, cannonballs, guns, and bullets he could. He soon realized that he could resell the items at a nice profit if he sold them for their original purposes rather than for scrap metal. By age 20, the young junk dealer had become a successful secondhand arms dealer.
In 1871, with his father’s blessing, Frank VI started his own competing store. His business dealings quickly became legendary. He bought up thousands of Civil War carbines at rock-bottom prices and sold the bulk to a store in New York that retailed them for 69 cents apiece—a remarkably low price that makes one wonder what Bannerman himself paid for them. Bannerman once avoided exorbitant rail-freight charges on a shipment of cartridge boxes from California by chartering a clipper ship to deliver the goods to New York via Cape Horn.

The U.S. government generally smashed surplus arms before auctioning them off, much to Bannerman’s dismay since he considered it more important to preserve historic arms than to reduce them to scrap. In one government auction, some 11,000 guns were sold for scrap, including many surrendered by Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his legendary army at Appomattox. The government refused to accept Bannerman’s bid, stating that he would likely repair the smashed guns and put them up for sale in competition with the obsolete guns the government was trying to sell. Instead, the heirloom weapons were destroyed and sold as scrap metal.

Building the Armory on Pollepel Island

On a business trip to Ireland, Frank visited his grandmother in Ulster and met a young woman named Helen Boyce. The two were married on June 8, 1872, and eventually had three sons, Francis VII, David, and Walter. The two older sons continued the family business; Walter eventually became a doctor and moved to Massachusetts.
After the close of the Spanish-American War in 1898, Bannerman bought up 90 percent of its captured goods in a sealed bid. This became his most legendary and problematic purchase. The family had been storing its arsenal in a warehouse in Brooklyn, but due to the large quantities of black powder in the new purchase (an estimated 30 million rounds of ammunition), it became necessary to find a safer place to store the huge amount of hazardous goods away from populated areas. The city of New York would not allow them to be stored near occupied areas.

Frank’s son David discovered Pollepel Island in the Hudson River while taking a canoe trip. Situated approximately 1,000 feet from the east shore, it proved to be the perfect distance from the city for the storage of a huge arsenal. The Bannermans purchased it from owners Thomas and Mary Taft in 1900 after the owners stipulaed that they not use it for the sale of alcohol. Bannerman fervently supported prohibition and had no problem with the restriction.
Frank and his wife spent the next 18 years designing an elaborate castle and another, smaller structure that served as summer living quarters for the family. The house was graced by a large picture window with a view of the United States Military Academy at West Point. The couple built their castle in the Scottish tradition of their ancestors, with little professional help from contractors or architects. Plans included battlements, towers, and a genuine drawbridge. Mrs. Bannerman landscaped the grounds. They added four additional warehouses to the grounds, including one that was placed in the tower of the castle. Huge metal baskets hung from the castle’s corners, suspending gas-fed lanterns that burned through the night like torch lights. Armed guards and dogs paced the grounds day and night to keep out intruders.

The family lived virtually on top of hundreds of thousands of rounds of live ammunition, but there were only a few recorded mishaps. The danger of living on an arsenal was brought home forcefully to Mrs. Bannerman one day. She was lying in a hammock on the terrace when she decided to get a glass of iced tea. As she stepped into the house, she heard an explosion and turned just in time to watch a piece of the island’s powder house land in the middle of her hammock. Nearly 200 pounds of black powder had exploded and hurled debris. The sound of the blast could be heard nearly 50 miles away. Both the castle and the residence suffered extensive structural damage. Doors were blown off their hinges, and windows were broken in homes in nearby towns from the enormous explosion.
Despite the alarming incident, the Bannerman family by 1900 had become one of the largest suppliers in the world of all manner of military goods, serving individual buyers, collectors, and foreign armies from an enormous store at 501 Broadway in New York City. The family conquered every possible market, even selling old uniforms to theater organizations as costumes (including costumes for Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show).

Many years after the Civil War, they were still able to supply original Union uniforms in pristine condition in their original packaging. Many of the commemorative cannons displayed in small towns across the country were supplied by the Bannermans, and they even supplied suits of armor displayed in museums and personal collections around the world.
Any type of war goods that an individual might want could be found at Bannerman’s, from ancient crossbows to Civil War muskets, Filipino bolos and barongs, and tribal war shields. The wants of boys and young men were given special attention, and Bannerman’s advertised its catalog in popular boys’ and outdoor magazines of the day. Although Bannerman’s never sold live weapons to minors, a boy could buy any war decorations he might want for his bedroom wall or military-style camping equipment from the 350-page catalogue. The fully detailed catalogue, published from 1880 to the 1960s, is still considered a valuable reference for military supplies. It can even be found in some library systems around the United States.

Bannerman never revealed his largest arms customers, and although he claimed to have never knowingly sold arms to buyers of questionable origin, some of his weapons were said to have inadvertently ended up in the hands of “revolutionists” around the world. Some observers claimed that they saw Bannerman’s weapons being used by insurgents in Panama during their struggle to gain independence from Colombia.
 
At the onset of World War I, one of Bannerman’s employees, an Austrian immigrant named Charles Kovac, was arrested on charges of spying, casting a large shadow of suspicion on Bannerman’s business. Soldiers were stationed on Bannerman Island for precautionary purposes and made an extensive search of the grounds. Machine guns mounted in the tower of the castle aroused suspicion, but Bannerman claimed that they had only been used to salute passing steamboats. Bannerman sent an angry letter to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, voicing his objections to the island’s occupation and noting his reputation as a true American patriot. As for Kovac, he was subject to deportation, but eventually was paroled and had his work activities on the island severely restricted.

A “Museum of Lost Arts”
Frank Bannerman died in 1918 at the age of 68 from overwork, according to a New York Times obituary, but many believed that the occupation of the island and the suspicion surrounding his name and business had seriously compromised his health. He had also been involved in a large, ambitious war relief effort to Belgium at the time, which may have contributed to his downward turn. The island continued to be used for storage, but all further construction on the castle came to an end. Frank VII and David Bannerman continued to operate the business well into the 1970s out of a massive warehouse on Long Island.
The business eventually began to sell more to collectors than to arms buyers. After the two brothers died, it passed to the control of grandson Charles Bannerman, who ironically had married Jane Campbell and finally ended the clans’ long feud. The family finally sold Bannerman Castle to the State of New York in 1967. A munitions expert was hired to remove any remaining dangerous ordnance, and the city took possession of all the remaining merchandise, some of which was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.


The state made plans to conduct tours of the castle, but a mysterious fire on August 8, 1969, caused extensive damage. Firefighters quickly rowed to the island to look for anyone who might have been trapped by the blaze, but they could do little to save the castle itself. Stone, cement, and bricks were all that remained of the original structure. Police investigated the possibility of arson, but nothing could be proven. Since that time, the castle has been declared off limits to the public, although the island itself is open for tours from May through October. The fate of the castle is now in the hands of Bannerman Castle Trust, Inc., which is attempting to secure funds for a renovation.
Although he had an exceptional career dealing in weapons of war, Frank Bannerman’s greatest wish was that there would come a day when his weapons were no longer considered necessary and his military surplus store and museum could become known instead as a “Museum of Lost Arts.” He was a great preserver of military history, and experts agree that many of the surviving items dating from the Civil War survive today largely due to Bannerman’s one-man efforts to save them.
This article by Dorraine Fisher originally appeared on Warfare History Network. This article first appeared earlier this year.


Second article:
The Great Gun Merchant
by Joseph E. Persico
American Heritage magazine August 1974, 

Volume
25, 

Issue
5


source https://www.americanheritage.com/great-gun-merchant#5


For years passengers travelling the railroad between New York City and Albany were stirred from their reveries by a Scottish castle looming suddenly from the Hudson River. An outpost of nearby West Point? The domain of an émigré laird? No, this island fortress was once the private arsenal of the world’s largest arms dealer.
Frank Bannerman saw himself as a sincere Christian. Critics branded him a secondhand merchant of death. Whatever else, he was a paragon of nineteenth-century capitalism.
Bannerman was a child of three when the family emigrated from Scotland and settled in Brooklyn. When the Civil War broke out soon after, his father left for the Union navy, and Frank, then ten, quit school to help support the family. By the war’s end young Frank was carrying on his father’s earlier livelihood, buying government surplus equipment at the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard.
After Appomattox huge stocks of surplus arms came onto the federal auction block. Frank Bannerman bought up unwanted weapons for their resale value as junk. Before long the young entrepreneur found that the old guns, bullets, swords, and cannonballs he was selling as scrap would command far higher prices in their original form and for their original purposes. By the age of twenty Frank Bannerman, junk dealer, had become Francis Bannerman, secondhand munitions merchant.
When Bannerman went to California to bid on government cartridge boxes, he avoided heavy rail-freight charges by chartering an entire clipper ship to take his purchases back to New York via Cape Horn. He acquired a huge store of army belt-plates and smelted them down in his front yard, separating the lead from the brass in the process; the salvaged metals were then sold, in what was deemed a profitable undertaking. He converted a peaceful passenger ship into a well-armed man-of-war for a South American government in one week, “a record for speed that could scarcely be duplicated,” he boasted; and in one quick turnaround he bought up thousands of Civil War carbines and sold them in bulk to a New York store that retailed the guns for sixty-nine cents apiece. If they yielded a profit at this retail price, one can only imagine what Bannerman paid for them.

Arms meant more to Frank Bannerman than profits alone. The federal government had a practice of smashing surplus arms under heavy hammers before auctioning them. This destruction scandalized Bannerman:
We remember at the close of the Civil War, making the highest bid at Government sale, on a lot of 11,000 old guns, “veterans of many wars,” part of the lot surrendered by General Lee, classified “Rebel.” The U.S. Ordnance Officer refused to accept our bid for the guns, alleging “that Bannerman would repair the guns and put them into serviceable order, and they would then enter into competition with the now obsolete guns that the Government had for sale.” So this lot of “Rebel” guns, which contained many heirlooms of patriots who had fought with Washington and Jackson, was consigned to the fire, and the old burnt locks and barrels sold to us later as scrap iron.
The government’s concern was not entirely unfounded. David, one of Bannerman’s two sons who eventually went into the business, told how the boys were sent to rummage through barrels of broken-up guns stored in the family’s cellar. For every part found in perfect working order—a firing pin, perhaps, or a tumbler—they were paid a bonus.

Bannerman’s greatest coup was the Spanish acquisition. He bought up ninety per cent of all captured guns, ammunition, and other equipment auctioned off after the Spanish-American War. He also bought weapons directly from the Spanish government before it evacuated Cuba. These purchases vastly exceeded the firm’s capacity at its store in Manhattan and filled three huge Brooklyn warehouses with munitions, including thirty million cartridges.
Francis Bannerman Sons now billed itself—correctly, no doubt—as “the largest dealer in the world in military goods.” The firm advertised its wares in a profusely illustrated catalogue that military men the world over valued as a standard reference work. The catalogue spelled out the terms of sale in what Bannerman called The Golden Rule in Action; “First you pay your money, then you get your goods.” In short, cash on the gun barrel and no questions asked.




Bannerman’s greatest coup was the Spanish acquisition. He bought up ninety per cent of all captured guns, ammunition, and other equipment auctioned off after the Spanish-American War. He also bought weapons directly from the Spanish government before it evacuated Cuba. These purchases vastly exceeded the firm’s capacity at its store in Manhattan and filled three huge Brooklyn warehouses with munitions, including thirty million cartridges.
Francis Bannerman Sons now billed itself—correctly, no doubt—as “the largest dealer in the world in military goods.” The firm advertised its wares in a profusely illustrated catalogue that military men the world over valued as a standard reference work. The catalogue spelled out the terms of sale in what Bannerman called The Golden Rule in Action; “First you pay your money, then you get your goods.” In short, cash on the gun barrel and no questions asked.
Cannon? Bannerman offered them with twenty-four hundred rounds of shot “at bargain prices,” ready to be shipped within five minutes of the receipt of an order (“no red tape with our quick deliveries”).
Gatling guns? The firm stocked two hundred, with eight million rounds of ball cartridges “for any government War Department desiring to equip their army with a first-class outfit.”
A machine that could cast over a hundred thousand bullets a day? Bannerman could give you a price.
An ancient crossbow? A Zulu warrior’s lance? A Congo blow-gun arrow? See Bannerman—price: $75, $6.75, and $1.00 each, respectively. He acquired these curiosities through foreign agents and on his own frequent arms-buying forays abroad.
Bannerman also had answers for customers with special problems. Describing the Hotchkiss twelve-pounder the catalogue noted, “These fine guns should be particularly desirable to South American Government War Departments or to any government for service in mountainous countries.”
Bannerman’s ability to deliver the goods was best demonstrated during the 1905 Russo-Japanese War. He submitted samples to the Japanese war department for 100,000 rifles, 10,000 army saddles, 100,000 knapsacks, 150,000 gunslings, 100,000 khaki uniforms, 150,000 white summer uniforms, and 20 million cartridges—an offer, it appears, that the Japanese let pass.
But Bannerman would not sell to just anyone. The firm had an iron rule: “No firearms are ever sold in our store to any minor.”
Bannerman also conducted a lively trade in less lethal wares. He sold surplus military uniforms to bands, fire departments, and patriotic organizations. Seventy-five years after the Civil War the firm was still offering Union army uniforms “in the original cases, free from moths and in perfect condition.” Buffalo Bill used Bannerman supplies in his act. The cast of My Maryland , a 1927 musical with a Civil War theme, was outfitted in original blue and gray uniforms from Bannerman’s.

The firm also did a brisk business in martial antiques, supplying the veterans’ post wanting a front-lawn cannon, the museum seeking a suit of armor, the collector looking for a seventeenth-century blunderbuss, or the schoolboy dreaming of crossed sabers hanging in his room.
The company even had links from the famous iron chain that had been strung across the Hudson River during the American Revolution as a device to snag British ships. The links were cut into cross sections a quarter of an inch thick, polished bright, stamped “Section of chain used by General George Washington, West Point, New York, 1778.” The last of these links to the Revolution were sold in the 1940’s for $2.75 apiece.
Although the identity of its major munitions customers was a tightly held secret, the firm hotly denied that it ever armed revolutionaries for profit. Yet when Panamanian rebels broke away from Colombia in 1903, presumably conspiring with a United States government bent on building a canal through Panama, the insurgents were armed with Mausers suspiciously like those captured from the Spanish in Cuba.
 
When a story about the firm, headlined FITTING OUT REVOLUTIONS , appeared in the old New York Herald , the company angrily objected. “We have plenty of honorable business without stirring up or aiding strife,” a spokesman said. “If revolutionists purchase our goods, they do so secretly through others.” No doubt true. But the Bannermans asked no questions. They took the money and delivered the goods to a pier or freight yard. Where the material went after that was not their concern. They could honestly say they did not know.
What sort of man was this merchant of secondhand guns and surplus bombs? He himself might have answered “a man of God.” A lifelong object of Frank Bannerman’s generosity and interest was the Scotch Presbyterian Church of Saint Andrews in Brooklyn. His favored recreation was weekly Bible study with poor lads from his boyhood Brooklyn neighborhood.
When a minister friend accused him of being in a horrid business, Bannerman had a ready retort. He asked the cleric how many swords were reported in the company of the Twelve Apostles. When the minister, citing Luke 22:38, answered “Two,” Bannerman commented: “Two swords in a company of twelve makes a rather good percentage in favor of weapons.”
In another novel defense Bannerman wrote, “The good book says that in the millenium days, swords shall be turned into plow shares and spears into pruning hooks. We are helping to hasten along the glad time by selling cannonballs to heal the sick.” This was no metaphysical argument. The passage merely referred to another Bannerman product, for which the company had received “frequent calls from physicians”—cannonballs covered with leather, which were recommended to patients suffering from constipation and other abdominal maladies. One placed the ball on the floor and rolled on it to relieve the condition—something of a martial medicine ball.
Bannerman was fiercely proud of his Scottish antecedents. The family virtually practiced ancestor worship. The first male member of each generation was always christened Frank. Our protagonist’s father was Frank V , he himself was Frank VI (“Francis” was used for business purposes only), and his eldest son was Frank VII . Every edition of the Bannerman catalogue reported the legend behind the surname. According to this story a member of the MacDonald clan rescued the clan banner during the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. King Robert Bruce himself witnessed the heroic deed and, with his own sword, sliced off a strip of the standard, pinned it on the brave MacDonald, and there on the battlefield proclaimed him a “Banner Man.” The family noted pointedly in its catalogue that no matter how it might sound, the name Bannerman was not German.
As Bannerman’s business prospered the firm outgrew one larger location after another, finally occupying an entire block at 501 Broadway in lower Manhattan. This property became the main salesroom and the site of Bannerman’s Military Museum, a superb exhibition of weaponry from harque-buses to artillery, which the owner proudly displayed to the public. But this space could not hold the massive Bannerman purchases from the Spanish-American War, and New York ordinances prohibited the storage of live ammunition in the city. Bannerman now needed an arsenal.

In 1900 his son David was cruising the Hudson River with a friend who showed him six and a half acres of scrub-covered rock called Polopel’s Island, about fifty-five miles north of New York City. Polopel’s Island offered Frank Bannerman space to store his munitions and room to indulge his Scottish affinities.
He bought the island in December of 1900 for fifteen hundred dollars from a private owner and bought seven acres more of underwater land in front of the island from the state of New York. He ringed the submerged area with sunken canalboats, barges, and railroad floats to form a breakwater.
On the island Bannerman built a huge arsenal styled after his idea of a Scottish castle. On a hill in the middle of the island he built a smaller castle as the Bannerman family home.
The island was under continuous construction for eighteen years. Yet hardly an architect or engineer had a hand in the work. The castle was Bannerman’s vision and his execution. It was creviced and encrusted with battlements, towers, turrets, crenellations, parapets, embrasures, casements, and corbelling. Huge iron baskets suspended from the castle corners held gas-fed lamps that burned in the night like ancient torches. By day Bannerman’s castle gave the river a fairyland aspect. By night it threw a brooding silhouette against the Hudson skyline.
Bannerman chose well in selecting Polopel’s Island for his designs. Just past the rugged Hudson heights of Breakneck, Crownest, and Storm King Mountain the river opens into a lovely inland sea containing the island. Visitors approached the place along a breakwater bristling with cannon and then passed through an opening flanked by two watchtowers. After tying up their boat at a large unloading dock they crossed a moat spanned by a drawbridge and passed under a portcullis crowned by the Bannerman coat of arms carved in stone. The coat of arms had been designed by Bannerman and included a grapnel symbolizing the grappling he used to do in New York Harbor for old anchors and pieces of chain.
 
Once through the portcullis, visitors passed along walks flanked by alternating flower beds and gun emplacements that ran between the munitions storehouses and the family’s living quarters. All the rooms in the smaller castle contained proverbs from the Bible, molded on the walls in concrete. Visitors who brought a thirst to Bannerman’s castle were out of luck, since the teetotalling owner had readily signed a covenant when he bought Polopel’s prohibiting any drop of liquor from profaning his island. Armed guards with watchdogs roved the island around the clock and discouraged the uninvited.
This embellished rock in the Hudson was the Bannerman family home in all but the most bitter of winter months. Bannerman grandchildren, their friends, and the employees’ children romped amid history—a gun from Admiral Farragut’s flagship, a cannon from the battle of Yorktown, memorabilia from the sunken U.S.S. Maine .
The family also lived on a virtual powder keg crammed with hundreds of cannon, tens of thousands of rifles, hundreds of thousands of rounds of live ammunition, and tons of gunpowder. Once a workman melting down scrap mistakenly put live ammunition into the pot, “with fatal results,” as a Bannerman publication described the outcome. Another time a cannon being tested against a nearby-mountain jumped, lifting the shell over the intended target and sending it through somebody’s barn. And on a lazy Sunday summer afternoon the powder house blew up, hurling shells and debris over the island but, miraculously, injuring no one. The cause of the blast was never determined.
When World War I broke out, Bannerman was stirred by his strong attachment to the land of his birth. He donated a thousand used rifles and other equipment to outfit the Scottish Company of the City of London National Guard, a gift valued at about seventy thousand dollars. The following year he wrote the Lord Mayor of London, urging on King George another gift of a thousand Springfield rifles. If the king could not accept a gift, why then he could pay Bannerman a penny for the lot. King George accepted the offer under the impression that Bannerman was a British subject.

Yet it was World War I that raised the only whiff of public scandal over the Bannerman business. Several congressmen demanded an investigation when the War Department proposed to pay Bannerman fifteen thousand dollars apiece for thirty six-inch guns that he had bought from the United States Navy a few years before for seventy-eight dollars apiece. Bannerman denied that he had asked fifteen thousand dollars for each gun—that was merely the catalogue list price. Actually he was willing to sell the guns for five thousand dollars apiece. He eventually threw in two guns for free, along with twenty thousand dollars to mount them, as a gift to the nation.
Less than a week after the armistice ending the Great War, Frank Bannerman died at the age of sixty-eight, from overwork, said the New York Times obituary, while collecting and shipping clothes for the Belgian relief effort. After his death the business shifted gradually from large-scale arms sales to collectors’ sales. Two sons carried on the firm until their deaths, Frank VII’s in 1945 and David’s in 1957, leaving the firm in the hands of a grandson, Charles Bannerman. The family lived at the castle less frequently after the founder’s death and finally not at all.
 
In 1959 the Bannerman salesroom was moved from its Broadway location to a building on Blue Point, Long Island. The old store was closed to the wailing strains of a kilted bagpiper, while city police and firemen sealed off the block and the nearest subway station on the off chance that some of the shells being removed from Bannerman’s Military Museum might still be live. Finally the family sold out the business to James Hogan, a former Bannerman employee, who still runs it from the Blue Point location, dealing mainly with weapons collectors.
 
By the 1960’s Bannerman’s castle on the Hudson had sunk to a state of monumental decay. In 1967 Charles Bannerman sold the island castle to New York’s Taconic State Park Commission and disposed of all remaining arms and munitions. Not long after the sale Frank Bannerman’s dream turned to ashes. A fire, probably set by vandals, consumed the castle and the family home. The flames danced high in the night sky, and the river hellishly mirrored and magnified the fire on its sleek black surface. Before the fire burned out, the flames had eaten through all but the stoutest castle walls. What remains today is a charred, crumbling shell with the legend “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal” barely legible on the remaining façade.
Shortly before he died, Frank Bannerman had rewritten the preface to his catalogue, again expressing his ultimate faith in peace: “We believe the millenium will come. For years we have been preparing for it collecting the weapons now known as Bannerman’s Military Museum.” His great hope, he said, was the day when this pavilion of destruction could be renamed the “Museum of Lost Arts.”

Guns .com BANNERMAN’S CASTLE: THE ULTIMATE ARMY-NAVY STORE
11/7/15 11:28 AM | by Chris Eger
source: https://www.guns.com/news/2015/11/07/ba ... navy-store
Today there are dozens of companies that specialize in selling everything from surplus Russian Mosin rifles, to Belgian Vigneron submachine-gun parts kits, to well-used World War 2 steel pot helmets. What you may not know is that all these companies all owe their origin to Francis Bannerman and his island of wonders.

MEET FRANCIS
Born in Scotland in 1851, Francis Bannerman IV grew up in New York. Son of a salesman who specialized in reselling goods bought at local auctions, the junior Francis started picking up lots of goods himself and selling them in smaller pieces to collectors of curios, relics, and interesting items. Then he discovered government surplus...
There are some great inside views of the goodies. What a place to have seen in 1900.

This article originally ran on Guns.com as “Bannermans Legacy: The ultimate Army-Navy store” on September 14, 2013 and has been edited for content.


Photos

The history of Hudson Valley’s abandoned Bannerman Castle and how to visit
POSTED ON TUE, FEBRUARY 4, 2020 BY LUCIE LEVINE
source https://www.6sqft.com/the-history-of-hu ... -to-visit/
Frank-Bannerman.jpg
Frank-Bannerman.jpg (31.64 KiB) Viewed 1946 times
View of the intact structure:
source http://www.bldgblog.com/2007/11/bannermans-island/





A Drone's areal view Of the Bannerman Castle Ruins: Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vkSEFLbXXc
Attachments
IMG_9295.jpg
IMG_9295.jpg (329.62 KiB) Viewed 1945 times
1546px-New_York_-_Bannermans_Island_Arsenal_-_NARA_-_68145009-1024x794.jpg
1546px-New_York_-_Bannermans_Island_Arsenal_-_NARA_-_68145009-1024x794.jpg (150.47 KiB) Viewed 1948 times
Last edited by 72 usmc on Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.
72 usmc
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Gun Junkie
Posts: 2731
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Re: Bannerman & Castle

Post by 72 usmc »

an old source:
https://americansocietyofarmscollectors ... s-Deal.pdf


Francis Bannerman VI, Military Goods Dealer to the World
by Dwight B Demerits Jr.

Reprinted from the American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin 82:43-50
Additional articles available at http://americansocietyofarmscollectors. ... /articles/


Also some inside views:
https://americansocietyofarmscollectors ... Exodus.pdf
FRANCIS BANNERMAN EXODUS
1865 - 1959 By Robert Pins

Reprinted from the American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin 9:15-19
Additional articles available at http://americansocietyofarmscollectors. ... /articles/
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.
72 usmc
Gun Junkie
Gun Junkie
Posts: 2731
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:28 pm
Age: 68
Location: Menomonee Falls, Wi

Re: Bannerman & Castle

Post by 72 usmc »

A Mosin I always wanted to find on the cheep 20 years ago, but never found. A Bannerman military model factory conversion M91 Mosin to 30-06. A great comparison written by Martin 08. Not the sporter.
https://forums.gunboards.com/showthread ... -Dissected

This is worth a print out----Primary ref: https://russian-mosin-nagant.com/Bannerman/

Also they made Sporter hunting rifles- real chop jobs to sell:
https://forums.gunboards.com/showthread ... me-history

http://www.mosinnagant.net/global%20mos ... nerman.asp

Forgotten weapons Bannerman Sporter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI7BCToQhRc
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.
shoot4fun
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Re: Bannerman & Castle

Post by shoot4fun »

a 1hr documentary on youtube, hosted by Thom Johnson, author of Bannerman Castle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcAX7w-ncbM
72 usmc
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Posts: 2731
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:28 pm
Age: 68
Location: Menomonee Falls, Wi

Re: Bannerman & Castle

Post by 72 usmc »

Thank you. That Chappaqua Library one hour lecture is a must listen to. Fantastic story.
ThatVideo lead to this one too. :dance: :doh:
Exploring Bannerman Castle
Landscape photographer and instructor Robert Rodriguez Jr explores the ruins of Bannerman Castle which is situated on an island in the Hudson River. Discover the history and view ethereal landscapes of this unique and popular historic landmark.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccVxLv5hII
Last edited by 72 usmc on Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.
72 usmc
Gun Junkie
Gun Junkie
Posts: 2731
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:28 pm
Age: 68
Location: Menomonee Falls, Wi

Re: Bannerman & Castle

Post by 72 usmc »

Thank you
That Video above lead to three others. :dance: :doh:

:arrow: Bannerman Castle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e32OoIGHsTU


:arrow: Bannerman Castle Aerial Views
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB9903m5X5o


Exploring Bannerman Island / Bannerman Castle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs2ErmFDunM

and the book : Bannerman Castle (NY) (Images of America) Paperback – August 16, 2006
Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 5.57.31 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 5.57.31 PM.png (279.71 KiB) Viewed 1805 times

Also an old one THE STORY OF BANNERMAN ISLAND Hudson River, New York Paperback – January 1, 1995
by Charles S. Bannerman O/P
Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 6.02.09 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 6.02.09 PM.png (140.68 KiB) Viewed 1803 times
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.
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