Recently, Ken and Pat Hodge welcomed members of the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce’s leadership class to their palatial estate on the lake in Point Noble.
Each year for more than a decade, I was asked to speak about a little known part of Flower Mound’s history; namely, the fact that a gangster and professional gambler named Herb Noble once owned a large tract of land in the gated community now known as Point Noble. In addition to being a henchman in the notorious Benny Binion mob during the 1930s and 40s,
Mr. Noble ran his cattle ranch in a region known back then as, “the area north of Grapevine.” Flower Mound didn’t become a town until 1961. Mr. Hodge, a foremost custom homebuilder in Denton County for about 40 years, purchased the land about 20 years ago and began building homes along the lake on some of the most cherished real estate in North Texas.
While clearing out the land, and being careful to preserve the most valuable trees, he came across some stone cabins with a history behind them. It seems that Mr. Noble ran some of his gambling operations here, outside the jurisdiction of Dallas. Some of the high-rollers at the time wanted a safe place to play poker without being interrupted by the police and with less chance of being ripped off by thugs looking to pull a quick and lucrative stickup. The walls of the cabins were well-fortified and had small openings from which occupants could see potential highwaymen and guard against attacks.
Benny Binion, known back then as the “Emperor of crime” in the D/F/W area, made a deal with the organized-crime syndicate known as the “Mafia,” which was spreading its tentacles across the country.
The deal was that Binion would assist them in adding D/F/W to their ever expanding criminal enterprise. As payment for turning over his control of gambling, prostitution, protection, drugs and a myriad of other nefarious activities,
Binion was rewarded with ownership of The Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in the new entertainment Mecca known as Las Vegas. When word of Binion’s plan reached Noble, he let it be known that he disagreed with the boss. He began trying to influence other members of the Binion mob to join with him in keeping the eastern gangs from having a foothold in Texas. Evidently, someone “dropped a dime” on Noble (it was actually a nickel back then). When Binion found out that his order was being questioned by an underling, he decided to make an example of him.
He sent his most deadly contract killer to put a quick end to Mr. Noble’s objections. Although wounded by the first attempt, Noble survived and sent one of his assassins to even the score. His contract killer was more accurate than Binion’s. Another enforcer was assigned to end Noble’s life, but fell short of the mark by merely wounding him again. In fact, Noble was shot and wounded so many times, he became known as “Cat Noble” for his obvious 9 lives. (He actually exceeded the legendary capacity of felines to escape death, for he sustained bullet wounds on 12 separate attacks, recovering from each episode to fight another day.)
The war between Binion and Noble continued for 5 years of savagery on the streets and roadways from Dallas, Fort Worth, Flower Mound and many other cities and towns in between. In 1998, while having dinner at Ken and Pat’s new home in Point Noble, they told me about the cabins and gave me some info concerning the fascinating history associated with the land and the stone cabins. After researching it further at the Dallas Library and Police Department files, I wrote “A City to Die For – One man’s struggle against the Mafia takeover of Dallas.”
When the FM Chamber of Commerce began their leadership program they asked me to speak about the era described in my book. Members of the leadership class have always been intrigued by the history lesson and have enjoyed getting a look at the cabins, inside and out.
This year, for the first time since I began doing the talk, Ken Hodge agreed to speak about his thoughts when he discovered the cabins. He gave an eloquent description of the events that made the headlines so many years ago. It was a distinct pleasure for me because, if anyone knows more about the history of the property, it’s the man who bought it and made a scenic paradise out of it.
I want to thank the FM Chamber of Commerce for educating the communities about a part of its past that very few residents were aware of. Moreover, I want to thank the Hodge’s for preserving a part of that history.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.