Located on the Lake Champlain shore of Essex, NY, the Noble Warehouse was constructed circa 1810 by the Ransom Noble and Sons firm (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 27). The Noble family controlled much of the maritime shipping in Essex, and constructed the warehouse and wharf to aid in their mercantile affairs. Originally the warehouse was a rather simple graystone building that catered to its function. Simple windows illuminated the interior with natural light, and large loading bays in the west facade facing the lake enabled large cargo maneuverability.
The Noble Warehouse has undergone many many aesthetic and functional changes renovations over the past two centuries. A neoclassical entrance was installed on the east facade to welcome patrons into the redesigned warehouse.
“In the early years of the twentieth century, the old warehouse received its elegant Colonial Revival style alterations, including the handsome Palladian windows which dominate the east and west facades.” (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 27)
The enclosure of the stairway on the south side of the Noble Warehouse further transformed the building. Staggered stairwell windows, a keystone-arched door surround, a fanlight over the doorway (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 27) and clapboard siding ornamented the previously sparse, utilitarian warehouse facade.
Functions of the Noble Warehouse
The Noble Warehouse has seen diverse uses and occupants over the years. It functioned as a shipping warehouse for the Noble’s family businesses for many years. Later it was converted into the W.G. Lyons general store downstairs, and upstairs, it held a shirt factory (Images of America: Essex on Lake Champlain. 55).
The warehouse was transformed into a concert hall by Maud Noble, and that is when it received its Colonial Revival makeover (Images of America: Essex on Lake Champlain. 78). Inside a stage and balcony were added for entertainment purposes. The building has also housed apartments and a movie theater (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 27).
Eventually, Cornelia Hand Baird, a descendant of the Nobles, donated the building to the Masons (Images of America: Essex on Lake Champlain. 79). Today it is a Masonic Lodge, and in the summer it hosts Essex Theatre Company productions.
Additional Resources for the Noble Warehouse
This map (with satellite image overlay) will help you locate the Noble Warehouse and see how its location relates to other historic buildings in the historic district.
View Flaneur’s Guide to Essex, New York in a larger map
References for the Noble Warehouse
“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” Essex Community Heritage Organization, 1986.
“Essex Village Historic District.” Living Places. Ed. Julia Gombach. The Gombach Group, 2010. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. .
Hislop, David C., Jr. Essex on Lake Champlain. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2009. Print. Images of America.
“Historic Essex.” Historic Essex. Essex Community Heritage Organization. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://www.essexny.org/>.
McNulty, George F., and Margaret Scheinin. Essex; the Architectural Heritage. Burlington, VT: Queen City Printers, 1971. Print.
Smith, H. P. History of Essex County: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Syracuse, N. Y.: D. Mason &, 1885. Print.
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