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THE CASTLE OF HERON BAY | by Pierce Place
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THE CASTLE OF HERON BAY

According to this web site: www.castleofheronbay.com/

 

A HISTORY OF THE CASTLE OF HERON BAY

 

This extraordinary stone mansion, sited on a rise above the south shore of Lake Worth was begun by the Whiting in the late 1920's and was largely completed by 1938. Reportedly, Whiting won the property from a Mr. McPherson in a poker game. The round crenellated front wing and rear tower give the rambling structure the appearance of a castle. Mr. and Mrs. Samuel E. Whiting, wealthy Fort Worth residents called it "Inverness." Mrs. Whiting designed and personally supervised the construction of the house.

 

A one story gabled rear wing is believed to be a three-room stone farm house that reputedly was build on this site around 1860. It is difficult to trace early ownership of the property because the 1876 courthouse fire destroyed the deed records, but Ulrick Cannon reputedly owned the property during the Civil War and Julian Feild acquired it after the war ended. It is not known who built the stone house, but records do indicate that the land was homesteaded by D.P. Terrell as early as 1872 - the first indicationthat a residence stood on the property. The Charles Turner family owned the property between 1873 and 1894, and the Oliver S. Kennedy family held it between 1904 and 1911, when it was sold to the City of Fort Worth because portions of land were needed for the Lake Worth project. After construction of Lake Worth, the City of Fort Worth leased the lake front property, and many homes were built around the shore of Lake Worth. It is during this period that the Whitings constructed what has come to be known locally as the "Lake Worth Castle" and the guest cottages across Heron Drive to the West. During the ownership by the Whiting's it is believed that their son committed suicide at the castle and it also suffered a serious fire in 1939.

 

The Vultee Aircraft Corporation leased the estate between 1944 and 1954, probably using it to entertain visiting businessmen and dignitaries. Jimmy Stewart stayed here in the early 1950's during the filming of "Strategic Air Command" at nearby Carsell Air Force Base. General Dwight D. Eisenhower spend time here also.

 

In the mid 70's,Tony and Marian May offered Adult Self-Improvement Training Programs at the Castle and called it "Castle St. Michael." The mid 80's found the castle owned by a John Pigenburg from Hawaii and a Richard Ruiz who left the property as you see it today.

  

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Taken on September 16, 2007