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The Thousand Islands are an archipelago of islands that straddle the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River as it emerges from
the northeast corner of Lake Ontario. They stretch for about 50 miles (80 km) downstream from Kingston, Ontario.
The Canadian islands are in the province of Ontario. The U.S. islands are in the state of New York. The islands, which number 1,793 in all,
range in size from over 40 square miles (100 km²) to smaller islands occupied by a single residence, to even smaller uninhabited
outcroppings of rocks that are home to migratory waterfowl. The number of islands was determined using the criteria that any island must be above
water level all year round, bigger than one square foot (roughly 0.93 m²), and support at least one living tree. The area is very popular
among vacationers, campers, and boaters, and is often referred to as the "fresh water boating capital of the world".
Around twenty of these islands form the St. Lawrence Islands National Park, the smallest of Canada's national parks.
The Thousand Islands-Frontenac Arch region was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2002. The U.S. islands include numerous
New York state parks, including Wellesley Island State Park, and Robert Moses State Park - Thousand Islands located on an island in the St. Lawrence.
The Steamer St. Lawrence was launched in Clayton, NY, in 1884. The handsome side-wheeler made regular excursions
throughout the islands and delivered passengers and their luggage to all the resorts and island communities.
The steamer was famous for her searchlight cruises through the thousand islands. This was a very popular
tour for the tourists, but the inhabitants of the illuminated summer cottages were not so happy.
Owned by the Folger Brothers of Clayton, this palatial steamer was capable of carrying 900 passengers in the utmost comfort.
It was one of several steamers that plied the St. Lawrence River between Massena and Clayton. Most passengers for the Thousand Islands
would board at Ogdensburg, where the steamer would usually dock for the night.
Her sailing days ended under the scrap-cutter's torch in 1925.
The Frontenac Hotel, situated on Round Island, was certainly one of the social centres of the Thousand Islands.
The island itself originally was developed by men from Central and Northern New York, as a resort connected with the Baptist Church.
Many prominent people purchased lots, with the island eventually becoming non-secular. Originally known as Round Island House, the property was
refinanced by islanders in 1890. The hotel's brochure advertised that it was a place of "perfect freedom from malaria, black flies and mosquitoes"
offering "boating, fishing, tennis, bowling, billiards and ping-pong with darkroom facilities for the amateur photographer".
One of the most interesting aspects of this hotel was its opulence. Excursion boats were prohibited from stopping at the dock, yet as a highlight
of most "rambles" steamboats would pass by the wharf "so that all passengers might have a glimpse of a life of luxury." In 1911, the hotel
burned to the ground. Their 45 star flag was saved and hangs in the 1000 Island Museum in Clayton as a tribute to this popular resort.
Castle Rest, the first of several "castles" of the Thousand Islands, was a distinctive architectural work of
architect Solon Spencer Beman. Designed for George M. Pullman the structure became a landmark feature of tourist steamboat excusions when
constructed in 1888. "Castle Rest" on Pullman Island remained in the Pullman-Lowden family until the mid-twentieth century when the main
structure was demolished. Ancillary buildings designed by Beman remain on the island.