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Macfadden's Castle on the Hill
Physical Culture Hotel

Sitting on the East Hill of Dansville, a red brick building stands, peering out among the trees onto the village below it. Only upon closer inspection does one realize that the building is sitting unused... and only upon looking deeper into it's vast history does one realize that the Castle on the Hill has sat unused for several decades.

Location attributes for Macfadden's Castle on the Hill
Location   Dansville, New York
Built :: Closed   1883 :: 1971
Status   Abandoned
Difficulty   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Security Risk   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
AUE Rating   ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Dansville fascination with the Castle on the Hill site predates the current building by several decades. In the late 1790's, a new creek (Breakout Creek) emerged from the side of East Hill in what was described as a loud boom. But it wasn't until the 1850's that it was determined that the mineral-rich waters would be suitable for a water cure facility.

And the original 1854 building, Our Home on the Hillside, operated under several different owners until it burned down in 1882. The owners at the time, the Jackson family, rebuilt the facility out of brick to fireproof it, and renamed the facility the Jackson Sanitorium. It operated until finally declaring bankruptcy in 1914.

Used briefly during the war, the building was finally reused in 1929 under the ownership of Bernarr Macfadden. Renaming the building to the Physical Culture Hotel, Macfadden operated the building as an exercise and therapeutic facility until his death in 1955. Afterwards, it continued to operate as a hotel under the name of Bernarr Macfadden's Castle on the Hill until it finally closed it's doors in 1971.

And while the past 4 decades have taken a toll on the building, it is structurally sound, with very little damage on the roof level. Vandals have hit the building, with graffiti throughout the building and fire damage in one part of the basement, but otherwise the building stands tall.

And so it will continue to stand, slowly decaying, but remaining a Dansville icon.

 
 
A Man's Castle... - July 2010
   
 
 
Castle Doctrine - July 2011
   

Since the visit last year, part of the north wing of the building has collapsed, and other sections of roof are starting to fall into the building. Things aren't looking that good for the castle.

 
 
Brick by Brick - August 2012
   

And now, since last year, part of the back wall has collapsed, and some of the exterior brick in the south wall has fallen out. We also had a party member end up partially through a floor. We also discovered that one of the cottages (the one with the bed frame in the original gallery above) is now nothing more than charred remains.

The castle doesn't look like it has long to stand these days.

 
 
 
 
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