All that’s really left to remind anyone of the time Herbert “The Cat” Noble lived in North Texas is the stretch of land he bought up around 1941, before there was a Lake Grapevine, in southern Denton County.
Suffice to say, Noble wouldn’t recognize the extravagant estate that sits there now, either. When he lived there, there were two cabins and a 280-acre farm, and no lake.
“This was long before there was any announcement that the Army was considering a dam on Denton Creek to create the lake but Noble ‘doubled down’ on his investment and bought an adjoining 195 acre tract three years later,” Jim Morriss wrote several years ago when recounting the history of the time two mobsters — Noble and Lester “Benny” Binion — clashed violently, ultimately bringing about Noble’s death in 1951.
Noble got his nickname because it took 12 tries for Binion (or rather, Binion’s men) to kill him. And Noble, according to the Texas Monthly, was “was everything Benny wasn’t– suave, debonair, a dashing figure who wildcatted in the oil patch and flew his own small fleet of airplanes.”
Noble had worked for Sam Murray as his bodyguard. When Murray was killed (it was rumored Binion had a hand in that, too), Noble recruited one of Binion’s most important men — Ray Laudermilk — to help run Murray’s operation, which included a numbers racket (or rather, several of them) and a craps game at the Airmen’s Club in downtown Dallas.
That was enough to start the long-running feud, since not only did Noble take one of Binion’s best men, but he also was infringing on Binion’s own racketeering territories.
After Binion had Laudermilk killed, Noble agreed to stop his rackets and got to keep his craps game — as long as he paid Binion 25 percent of the profits. The feud simmered, but by 1946, the Airmen’s Club was doing so well that Binion wanted to increase that to almost half the take. Noble balked, the cops shut the club down, and the feud picked back up. Over the next few years, Binion put a price (and increased it) on Noble’s head, and the violence escalated, until Noble’s death in 1951.
Nowadays, aside from two cabins that date back to the 1930s that are still maintained on the sprawling two-acre estate, the only other indicator that Noble was prescient enough to buy up all that pre-lake land is the fact that the upscale Point Noble is named after him, and the manse that sits on that acreage is at 1213 Noble Way.
And oh, what a mansion it is. Built and owned by the award-winning Ken Hodge, it’s on the market for the first time ever. The lakefront, two-story home is listed at $3.7 million by the Jim Striegel Team with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
Hodge (who is the namesake of Ken Hodge Custom Homes) built the 9,334 square-foot estate with a keen eye toward preserving the views and scenery surrounding Lake Grapevine, but also providing a luxurious (and private) place to relax and entertain.
The home has five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and two powder rooms.
“The quality, elegant details and meticulous design of this property are of the highest standard, as is customary of Ken Hodge Custom Homes,” said Realtor Jim Striegel. “Three of the bedrooms include private balconies overlooking the lake and the property provides privacy and a tranquil environment from which to enjoy the spectacular sunsets.”
The home is replete with luxe touches like Corinthian columns and crystal chandeliers, as well as fresco ceilings and a grand entry with a floating iron staircase.
Multiple living rooms and a piano bar provide plenty of space for entertaining, and a grand room with a Napoleon III fireplace, French-ceiling molds and a bar with carved hardwood Enkeboll moldings punctuate the opulent homestead.
And if you didn’t already have enough entertaining space, there’s also a fresco-ceilinged, velvet-walled theater room and a covered deck with an extensive patio and pool.