"Rochroane" castle was built between 1902 and 1905 for Melchior S. Belthoover, an oil and cotton millionaire from Natchez, Missisippi. The 44 room stone castle, sited on 37.5 acres overlooking the Hudson River, was designed by Arthur. J. Manning, a New York City architect who also lived in Irvington. This "Rhine castle" featured a spectacular stained- glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany that depicted the Hudson River view as seen from the castle.
"Rochroane" castle was bought by Benjamin Halsey in 1927, and was renamed "Grey Towers". Halsey's widow later donated the castle to the Immaculate Conception Church. After the castle caught fire in 1977, it was torn down. The Corning (NY) Museum of Glass "saved" the Tiffany window and "restored" it. It is on display at the museum year round.
Later, I received E-Mail that said:
It was indeed amazing that as soon as the Halsey Castle, with its beautiful lake and woods, was given to the church, it burned. The land became a subdivision for very expensive new houses. But what goes around comes around, the church was also destroyed by fire.
On 6-12-15, I received e-mail that said:
Just thought you might like to know one minor detail about the fate of Rochroane (or Halsey's Castle) as it was known in its later years.
I grew up in Irvington NY in the 60s and 70s, and as teenagers we used to hang out in Halsey's when it was an empty (but eminently restorable) shell.
It was indeed burnt down by developers, I think in 1976, but not through the direct fault of the RC Church. They had sold the estate by then.
Some years earlier their parish church in the village had indeed been torched to the ground by a drug-crazed nephew of the then Cardinal Spellman, head honcho of NY's Catholics. He was the misfit older brother of a girl in my HS class. I think this fire was c.1972.
In order to build a fancy new church building, the parish had to liquidate various assets - including the Halsey estate (which must have been c.20+ acres of prime suburban real estate 40 minutes from NYC).
The site was sold to developers, but locals were fighting the proposed demolition of the castle and overbuilding of the wooded lands. So one night the place was burnt down by henchmen of the new owners (as witnessed by a school chum of mine who was nearly run down by their careering getaway car!) and needless to say the fire was blamed on youths like us who used to peacefully have a few beers and joints in the place on a Saturday night.
Soon thereafter the estate was built over but the RC Church had already sold up and had built their new building.
And that's the Truth!
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Photo and information courtesy of Phil Bilzor.