Thursday, March 5, 2020
HAMDEN HOLMES NOBLE AND HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO SHASTA COUNTY
Hamden Holmes Noble was a son of James W. Noble, a farmer of Somerset County, Maine. Hamden was born in that county at Fairfield on August 16, 1844. This is where he earned his education. Later, he relocated to San Francisco where he first registered to vote in 1866. At that time, Noble was employed as a clerk. He married his wife Grace Chalmers on July 27, 1871, and their wedding was performed by the Reverend L. Walker, in San Francisco. During this union three children were born to them:
1. Grace (Noble) Johnson (1870-1957) married Edwin V.D. Johnson (Edwin V.D. Johnson was the manager/superintendent of the Northern California Power Company, Johnson and his wife Grace lived in Redding from 1903-1910.)
2. Nora (Noble) Mead (1880-1935) married Ernest E. Mead.
3. Hebe (Noble) Grolle-Crawford (1896-1950) married 1st: Grolle, first name unknown, then she married 2nd: John Crawford.
Above: Hamden Holmes Noble (1844-1929) poses for a photograph. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.
Later on, Noble became a stockbroker and then he established the Keswick Electric Power Company in 1900 to provide the Iron Mountain Copper Company’s smelter at Keswick with hydro electric power, and later the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Company at Coram. This is when they created Nora Lake near Shingletown which was named after his second daughter, Nora (Noble) Mead (1880-1935). It was a combined fore-bay and storage reservoir for the Volta Powerhouse. This company was renamed as the Northern California Power Company in 1902, and Noble became its president.
Noble would often stay at his daughter’s house in Redding when they made trips to check on their properties in Shasta County. However, Noble felt it was time to build a summer resort for his family to use at Shingletown. In January of 1903, the Northern California Power Company fenced off all the property they owned in Shingletown. Two months later, the Northern California Power Company relocated their office into the north-west room of the Lorenz hotel in Redding.
Above: The headquarters of the Northern California Power Company inside the north-west room of the Lorenz hotel in Redding on Yuba Street. This postcard image was taken between the years: 1904 and 1915. From the collection of Jeremy Tuggle.
Later that year, a two-story building called Noble’s Bungalow was erected by Hamden H. Noble who utilized the native rocks and stones from the bluff it was built upon, near Shingletown. It had a beautiful view of the Manton Valley below it. It featured a circular design to it and the roof was made of wood. The structure included a square tower and a wide porch supported by stone pillars around the tower. It was a two-story building with the downstairs being one large room which featured a circular fireplace. The upstairs included three wedge shaped bedrooms.
There was a second building on the property which was used as a kitchen and a servants headquarters. There was also a stable on site as well. Noble installed a pipe in the structure which conveyed fresh water from a nearby spring. The Noble family used this structure as a summer resort when they came north to Shasta County so they didn't have to stay at his daughter's residence in Redding all the time. It was also known as the Castle in the Sky and Noble’s Castle.
Above: this undated photograph shows Noble's Bungalow which was erected in 1903. It was also known as Castle in the Sky and Noble's Castle. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.
A secondary fore-bay and storage reservoir for the Volta Powerhouse called Grace Lake was created in 1906, approximately one mile north of Nora Lake. It was named after Noble’s eldest daughter, Grace (Noble) Johnson (1870-1957). Two of his three daughters received man made lakes named after them while Hebe didn’t receive one in her honor, at least in Shasta County.
In 1917, a forest fire gutted the castle. It also destroyed the secondary building and the stable on the property. After the fire, the Noble family returned to the property and they were surprised to see parts of the structure still standing. Later on, his wife Grace died in 1927, and her husband survived her by two years when he died on December 19, 1929 at San Francisco. He was also the founder of the Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in San Mateo County, California where he is buried with his wife.
The tower and the fireplace remained standing in 1959. It then began a slow deterioration process which made it crumble to the ground. Today, the only remains at the site are a pile of rocks from the castle like structure. A historic plaque was dedicated on July 10, 1988, by the Mt. Lassen Historical Society (now the Shingletown Historical Society), Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and the Trinitarianus Chapter 62 of the E. Clampus Vitus.
Above: An unidentified boy stands near the center of the circular fire place of Noble's Bungalow. Circa 1955. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.
Above: the remains of Noble's Bungalow. Circa 1955. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.
Above: Noble's Bungalow historic plaque dedicated July 10, 1988 by the Mt. Lassen Historical Society, P.G.& E., and the Trinitarianus Chapter #62 of E. Clampus Vitus. Photograph taken by Jeremy Tuggle on August 18, 2019.
Above: the ruins of Noble's Bungalow. Photograph taken by Jeremy Tuggle on August 18, 2019.
Above: a different view of the ruins of Noble's Bungalow. Photograph taken by Jeremy Tuggle on August 18, 2019.
Above: after a long days work, Jeremy Tuggle poses for a photograph next to the historic plaque for Noble's Bungalow. This photograph was taken by Gabriel Leete on August 18, 2019.
1860 U.S. Census
1870 U.S. Census
California Voter Register, 1866
Married - Daily Alta California newspaper of San Francisco, August 1, 1871
1880 U.S. Census
1900 U.S. Census
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, January 4, 1903.
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, January 14, 1903
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, January 18, 1903
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, February 28, 1903
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, March 10, 1903
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, March 31, 1903
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, April 3, 1903
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, April 11, 1903
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, April 23, 1903
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, April 30, 1903
The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, May 8, 1903
Getting Ready For A Great Smelter At the Balaklala - The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, May 10, 1903
The Free Press newspaper of Redding, August 14, 1903
1910 U.S. Census
1920 U.S. Census
Hamden H. Holmes in the California Death Index, 1905-1939
Death Ends Long And Useful Life Of H.H. Noble - The Sausalito News newspaper of Sausalito, December 20, 1929
The Covered Wagon 1954, published annually by Shasta Historical Society
Here’s A Castle Ruin Not In Europe by Isabel Bedynek - The Sacramento Bee newspaper of Sacramento, October 18, 1959
VF 729. Noble’s Castle, on file at the Shasta Historical Society
The Covered Wagon 1975, published annually by Shasta Historical Society
Where The ‘ELL Is Shingletown? The Shingletown Story By Marion V. Allen ©1979 Printed by Press Room Inc., Redding, California, Pages 81.