Auto court at Mt. Kalmia during the 1947 raid on the Dream Castle boarding house
Auto court at Mt. Kalmia during the 1947 raid on the Dream Castle boarding house

Queen Hogan’s Dream Castle

The estate went unoccupied for two years. In November 1942 it was leased to a former Ziegfeld Follies dancer, “Queen” Patricia Noblesse Hogan. She converted the mansion into a boarding house with beautifully furnished guest rooms and suites that rented for more than $300 a month (about $5,500 today). In the basement she set up “barracks” with beds that rented monthly for $85 (about $1,500 today). Rent included meals and cleaning, which was provided by live-in staff.

Queen Patricia’s Castle was a dodgy enterprise. She was able to cover the costs of upkeep, but there were persistent tax problems. She was behind so often that the house was put up for auction five times between February 1943 and February 1946. The minimum goal in the first auction was just $23,000, and yet the sale attracted no bidders. In advance of the fifth auction, in February 1946, Dr. Manuel H. Haig told reporters, “I’ll buy that Dream Castle.” And he did – for $83,000, or about $1.2 million today.

Haig quickly found that he was faced with a seemingly immovable obstacle preventing him from taking possession of the property. As the papers put it, the Queen of the Dream Castle refused to leave. Hogan had been ordered to quit the premises multiple times, but she ignored the orders and hid the actions from her tenants. Finally, in January 1947, 11 months after Haig bought the estate, sheriff’s deputies served Queen Patricia with a 12-hour notice to vacate.

The sudden evictions came as a shock to the Dream Castle’s 38 boarders. Even worse, they had just half a day to find new homes. Moving vans were soon jockeying for position in the castle’s driveway and auto court. Angry tenants watched as the vans carted away their belongings to destinations that were often yet to be determined. Outrage spread among the displaced boarders when they learned that Pat had known the evictions were coming for nearly a year. In February 1946, immediately after Dr. Haig bought the property, she had signed an agreement ordering her to vacate the property in 90 days. She ignored the order and kept it secret, just as she’d ignored and kept secret a 10-day eviction notice she’d received two weeks before the eviction notice was served.

The vans shuttled in and out of the property well into the evening on that last day. A reporter stopped one of the movers as he headed to his truck carrying a table on his head to ask him how it was going. “Another job like this,” the mover said, “and I’m quittin’.”

Later, when Dr. Haig finally gained access to the property, he found that the house had been trashed. He sued Patricia Hogan for damages totaling $7,725. She counter-sued for wrong eviction. The judge sided with Haig and against Hogan. It’s unlikely the doctor ever collected on the court’s award because Queen Pat was broke. She counter-sued in 1948 and lost again.

Dr. Haig, a bachelor, lived in Mt. Kalmia for the rest of his life. Most sources say he was a dentist, but records show he was a physician. Cancer took him in 1970. He was 74 years old.