The Mission of Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center is to empower students and families from diverse backgrounds to be healthy and active citizens through organic gardening, environmental stewardship, and nutrition education. Our Vision is to reconnect students and families to the natural environment through food, education and community engagement.
It was into this land of lovely climate and tumultuous economy that Oliver H. Noyes and his family arrived in 1891.10 He had visited National City for winter relief from New Hampshire’s cold for years before making the commitment to live in California. An indication of his visits was given when Leander Cogswell, History of the Town of Henniker, 1880, wrote “The lovers of fish and fishing are anticipating much pleasure from the fishing in the Contoocook, when it shall have in its waters the salmon, the fish commissioner for the state for 1875, Oliver H. Noyes, Esq., having placed in its head waters, during that year, 25,000 spawn of California salmon.”11 The Noyes family and the Kimballs were friends who lived not far from each other in New Hampshire. In fact, Frank Kimball brought a number of associates to National City from the fridged depths of New England. Said Flora Kimball, “The Kimballs came from New England, and the large number of New Englanders who followed them to this far western corner of the nation made quite a settlement by themselves.”12
Oliver H. Noyes was born in Franklin, a village near the town of Henniker, Marrimack County, New Hampshire on March 4, 1837. He married Mary Jane Plummer on November 7, 1865 when he was 28 and she was 23 years of age. They had three children while living in Henniker; Rose Noyes, Oliver Clarence Noyes, and Duncan Patterson Noyes.13
He held a number of government positions. He was justice of the peace in 1874, represented Henniker in the state legislature from 1874-1875, and was a state senator for District 8 in 1877-1878.14 He was also appointed one of the Fish Commissions for New Hampshire for several years, during which he emphasized the importance of stocking the rivers and ponds with good quality fish.15
In addition to his government positions he was owned a lumber company for a number of years. He also owned the Noyes Block in Henniker which included the National Hotel, a furniture store, a general store and a meeting hall. The Noyes Block burned to the ground in 1893. The estimated loss for the building and businesses was enormous. He had by this time moved with his wife and son, Oliver C., to National City where they lived for four years at 16th Street and “J” Avenue. In 1891 Noyes joined Col. George Chase, also from Henniker, New Hampshire, in the founding of the National Caning factory. “Besides making all kinds of pickles and relishes, canning vegetables and fruits, the firm aims to make a specialy [sic] of novelties for the eastern market. Fifteen tons of white Adriatic and white Genoa figs, mostly in marmalade, attractively put up in glass, are ready for shipment to Chicago.16
On December 23, 1893 Noyes was appointed and on February 15, 1894 he began his career as postmaster of National City.17
On December 29, 1893 Oliver H. Noyes purchased from Frank Kimball 4.63 acres on a crest known as the Terrace for $1,600.18 On that he built the Noyes House. To give an idea of how the depression affected land prices, Kimball had sold 2.5 acres of that land to a business associate for $5,000 in 1887 but that sale was not completed.19