The Cross House

A Historical Discovery!

One would think that, five years into the Cross House, I would no longer be surprised to discover anything about the house.

Well…Mick just proved this assumption wrong.

Just twenty minutes ago I did a new post, and Mick asked a question.

 

This very wide stone plinth was originally two narrow plinths, each originally topped with a single column. The center stone was added later.

 

Mick asked: “I have to wonder… the two single piers so close seem an odd architectural detail. That is unless the steps used to go between them instead of off to the side as the currently do – making a grand minor entrance to the porch. Any idea if that is how it used to be Ross?”

There is nothing about the two single stone plinths to indicate that they are not original. And while the rest of the porch has pairs of columns atop wide plinths…

 

…the north porch has a single column on a narrow plinth.

 

So, there IS precedent!

And the architect, Charles Squires, was nothing if not quirky. The man loved to quirk.

I also have the original drawings so I looked at them…to find a discovery!!!!!!!!

 

Plinth 1 was built. Plinth 2 was originally intended as a double plinth! It was built as a single plinth. Plinth 3 was built as designed. Plinth 4 was never built!

 

I never “saw” this previously even though I have spent hours looking at all the original drawings.

I seriously doubt a stair was inserted between the two single plinths as the space is only about 24-inches wide. The current stair is to the far edge, the same location as shown on the drawings.

So…cool. How fun! Thanks, Mick!

 

 

22 Responses to A Historical Discovery!

  1. Hi Ross!

    Is it possible that the “extra” pillar added to the big sweep is the missing 4th pillar? It’s hard to judge from pictures whether there would even be room for it.

    • Kerri, the “big sweep” plinth was added by the previous owner.

      And the #4 plinth is not missing. It was never built.

      • Hey Ross!

        I didn’t realize it was added by the previous owner. I just assumed that it was moved there from somewhere else on the property.

    • That’s an interesting question, considering that the other steps are concrete. The steps in the plan seem to echo that same kind of flourish at the bottom, just like the other steps – wrapping in front of the plinths. Perhaps the bottom steps were rounded the same way as on the north porch?

      • The west and north porches have stone (not concrete! Oh, the horror!) steps. These are “public” steps.

        The south porch, south entrance, and east porch, all had wood steps. These were all “private” entrances, and so no need to show off!

        • Oop! Sorry! I didn’t realize they were stone steps, my bad! The single columns make sense now too, after looking at the plan. They frame the window nicely.

  2. Hey Ross, it looks to me like the double plinth would have blocked the window, so as to give an unobstructed view to the outside, and symmetry to the outside, Squires went with this design?

  3. Wow! So fascinating! Ross, a couple of questions about the original drawings: 1. Why would Squires put 2 columns on narrow plinth #2? It looks so odd they way it’s drawn. 2. Any idea what the “dash” line coming down through plinth #4 would have meant? Happy Kitty-Father’s Day!

    • Looks to me like the dash line shows the corner of plinth #4, which would have turned the corner to the side wall.

    • 1) Plinth #2 would have been a double-wide plinth, Suella. It’s just not clearly drawn as such.

      2) Not sure! I’m gonna guess it’s simply showing a “break” in the wall behind.

      • I feel like I may have stumbled upon a possible explanation for why plinth #2 is only one column wide, but I wasn’t sure if you had seen it! I wrote it up under the comments in the following post.

  4. From the Rodak plan if the first floor I see the missing post, it looks to be a demi post (i.e split down the middle) – maybe that is why the dotted line on the blueprint?

    Which raises the question of why it was on that plan at all – did Bob remove some remnants of it… i.e it did get built after all?

    • That plan also shows double columns in plinth 2 and a strangely shaped plinth 3. None of these things seem to have actually been built, so perhaps Mr. Rodak simply copied the original plans. This is interesting because it would mean that Rodak’s plan is actually a copy from the now missing main floor plan, and not a “new” plan.

      • Bob Rodak (the previous owner) never had the original first-floor plan.

        I am guessing that whoever drew his first-floor plan simply took measurements off the ELEVATION drawings, thus showing how the original architect originally intended the column placement around the porch.

  5. Any idea where the stone came from to build the later “bridge” between the two narrow plinths? It matches the other stone so well, it almost is sure to have been on site since the house was built. It makes me wonder if there was some other lost feature that was sacrificed to provide the stone to construct the gas cooking area; are you absolutely sure that plinth #4 never existed? And do you ever get tired of our thousand distracting questions? 🙂

    • This is so true! For the record, I think you ask good questions, but I personally always hesitate to ask questions because I’m afraid they are dumb and/or annoying!

    • You can get an up-close look at the stone used to build the foundations in Ross’s post: https://restoringross.com/wanna-meet-my-limestone/ I’m almost certain it’s Cottonwood Limestone (a locally quarried, high-quality stone) which is still available today. So while it might be possible that the stone “bridge” was reused from elsewhere onsite (or elsewhere in town–it is a popular regional building stone), it could have simply been bought new.

      • Good point Christy; if the previous owner built it, I suppose he could answer the question about where it came from…

  6. On further study I think the dotted line merely denotes that the proposed stone pier (4) would have been set an angle to 3, the dotted line showing the corner. I also just spotted the non-existent basement window behind the steps…. intruiging

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