In the 1850s Dr Jackson a man with a dream built the castle. This hillside castle  has such a rich history going back to even the early 1800s. Jackson opened a water cure business where the castle stood  there it housed people and was used for water curing for the sick. The castle later  served as a residence for Clara Barton, Susan B Anthony and many other prominent names. But when a fire hit the castle/residence in the 1870s it was rebuilt and opened in 1883 a bigger, better, and fireproof building by Jackson, his daughter and son in law.  

Which by 1914 the use of water curing as a form of therapy was weeded out and unheard of and the castle went bankrupt. Then after world war 1 occurred the castle was reopened and used as an asylum for veterans then finally....  The castle which was bought by Mac Fadden had transformed  it into a hotel but rather then a water curing facility it was used for vacationing, sports, recreation ect.. which later after his death another owner took it over till 1971 it was used it as a therapeutic spa and kept the macfadden's traditions. 

Since 1971 the castle has been closed and unfortunately has not been rebuilt however in the last 90s some remodeling did occur and a large senior housing firm has merged with the new owner in hopes to make this one of the nicest and largest senior homes in the near future. The town currently is cleaning up the property and there are talks in 2003 of renovating it back to the way it was. Recently the Jackson cottage called Alta Vista which is on the castles site was burned to the ground by 5 teenage arsonist.

 I also was told that a teenage boy fell down the elevator shaft i believe he was up there drinking.  Otherwise the castle itself still stands can be seen from the 1700s town of Dansville and the castles high steeples and towers rise above the trees like a beautiful painting. 

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See Further Down Below To View Some Of Our Photography Of This Grandeur Place

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Built in 1850s on a hillside, the brick Victorian building, designed by a leading Rochester architectural firm, is visible throughout the town. Its monumental size and prominent location, combined with its important role in the region’s history and economy, make it a beloved local landmark. The health spa and hotel, which operated in this building for nearly 100 years under the ownership of several notable figures, was the area’s major employer and attracted an international clientele.  

At the turn of the 20th century, the Jackson Sanatorium was operated as a mineral spring spa with an emphasis on healthy activities and food. The owner, Dr. James Caleb Jackson, is credited with creating the first cold, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. It is said that a member of the Kellogg family came to Dansville and soon after, a variation of Jackson’s “Granula” appeared at the rival Battle Creek Sanatorium in Michigan.  

The water cure spa closed in 1914, followed by several unsuccessful attempts to reopen. It took the flamboyant New York City publisher and health advocate Bernarr McFadden to succeed, operating his Physical Culture Hotel between 1929 and 1955.  A master of promotion for his business undertakings and himself, McFadden sponsored his “Cracked Wheat Derbies,” annual walks from New York City to Dansville, with the participants fueled by cereal and fruit. McFadden operated the former spa as a resort hotel with sports activities and therapeutic treatments meant to build up the patrons, who were guided by McFadden’s motto, “weakness is a crime – don’t be a criminal.”

After Bernarr McFadden’s death in 1955, a New York City hotelier continued to operate the facility under McFadden’s name until 1971. Several private owners inspired hope that the “castle” would reopen but in 1986 the last owner filed for bankruptcy. In 1996, Livingston County took the property for unpaid taxes.

The Conifer Realty Development Corporation has tried three times to secure the necessary funding to renovate the building for use as senior housing. Critical to the project is support from the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal in the form of loans and tax credits that, with private dollars and other tax credits, would make the renovation plan for housing feasible. Twice DHCR turned down the request and twice, the developer has responded with project improvements. A third request to the State, for an assisted living facility in conjunction with an area hospital, was turned down and Livingston County auctioned the building and its 41 acres, assessed at just over $74,000, on December 3, 2001. 

The property was purchased for $45,000 by Buffalo developer Peter Krog, a Dansville native.  Krog has not announced his plans for the historic Castle on the Hill.  Its future, and prospects for any funding, still remain uncertain.



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