While its earliest origins were as a home for injured Civil War veterans and an asylum for children, the Castle on the Hill gained its greatest notoriety as a Physical Culture spa, or ‘healthatorium’. Led by the highly eccentric Bernar’r Macfadden, Physical Culture combined bodybuilding, ascetic fasting and a strict raw food diet. An incredibly prolific writer, Bernar’r wrote about 115 books, copies of which used to be stacked by the thousands in his publishing house (which burned down in 2006) behind the sanatorium. Guests here included most of Wall Street and Broadway in the ’20s and ’30s, at the peak of his influence, but the spa managed to remain open until about 1974, buoyed in its later years by being a filming location for “I Love Lucy”
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