Standing proudly on the shores of Seneca Lake in Geneva New York, Belhurst Castle boasts the beauty of the original designs of architects Fuller & Wheeler. We invite you to take a step back in time to learn about this legendary castle and how it became the beautiful hotel we know today. Once a private home, Belhurst Castle is now a wonderful property that features three hotels, two restaurants, a Spa & Salon, as well as our prestigious Belhurst Estate Winery. For more information about the history of our town visit the Geneva History Museum.
History of the Belhurst Castle
Originally the Belhurst property was a Seneca Indian Village, till the early 18th century when it became the Ontario Glass Company. After that closed, the land was divided and sold numerous times, until Carrie Harron purchased it and began building the Belhurst Castle in 1885.
Mrs. Harron was known for her wealth; she imported Medina sandstone to build the Castle directly from Europe. She also derived a legend from the previous owner, William Henry Bucke. Legend has it he ran away from Covent Garden Theatre in London with an actress and embezzled funds. Bucke built underground tunnels connecting the Castle to the shores of Seneca Lake so he could make a quick escape if they were traced to Geneva New York, and that’s just what they did before dying crushed by a wave.
The Legends of Belhurst’s Construction
It took a team of fifty men more than four years to build the mansion. Over the four years of construction, one man fell to his death, while another went mad setting the roof, marking the beginning of yet another legendary Belhurst story. The famous love affair of Isabella, a beautiful Italian opera singer, who fled Spain and her husband- for Belhurst Castle with her lover. Legend has it that her husband found out she was staying at the castle as Mrs. Harron’s guest and made the journey to retrieve his wife. Once the lovers heard of his arrival, they tried to flee through the wine cellar tunnels connecting to the carriage house. However, the tunnel collapsed on the fleeing couple who perished.
A tragic event becomes an enchanting tale when it happens at a castle. Mrs. Harron lived in the castle until her death in 1926, leaving the residence to her grandson, who sold it to Cornelius J. Dwyer in 1933. During Prohibition, Mr. Dwyer was bootlegging ale and whiskey from Canada, and running a dinner club and gambling casino in Belhurst. In 1951 he closed the casino but kept the restaurant, that laid to Edgar’s Fine Dining Restaurant, still operating today.
Geneva New York’s Belhurst Castle
Throughout history, Belhurst Castle was sold many times adding to the mystery and sparking legends of underground passages and hidden treasures. As well as fugitives hiding from the law and illegal gambling and drinking, to name a few of the stories of our legendary Belhurst Castle. Its colorful past of tangled love affairs, embezzled funds, and other astonishing tales have drawn many curious visitors. Geneva Historical Society archivists have confirmed some of these legends to be historically accurate; while others have come to just be embellished fabrications. Come find out for yourself if this legendary property is a real-life-fairytale or a luxurious castle with a fascinating history. Book your stay with us at Belhurst Castle during your next visit to Geneva New York.