The Cross House
In 1929 Scott Mouse, Sr., purchased the Cross House.
It is a good thing that he did.
When the house was built in 1894 the neighborhood was highly desirable; indeed, it was the neighborhood.
By about 1910 however, its proximity to downtown — originally an asset — had caused the neighborhood to begin a steep decline. This process was vastly accelerated by a newfangled invention called an automobile.
Because the Cross House is on the corner of Union Street and Highway 50, its lot became far more valuable for a commercial business rather than a grand old house. Across America, this exact situation played out in countless cities, and while a very few grand houses managed to hang on, most were ruthlessly demolished to make way for gas stations, parking lots, restaurants, office towers, etc.
But Mr. Mouse had a plan. He turned the house into an apartment building.
And this, no doubt, saved it.
In 1950, his son, Scott Mouse, Jr., then transformed the house into the Palace Motel.
And this, no doubt, saved it again.
The Mouse family sold the Cross House in 1960. But their thirty-one-years of ownership protected and adapted the house to fit its changing environment.
Today, the house has come full circle, and since 1999 is again a private home.
It is incredible, astonishing, and miraculous that, considering all that the Cross House has been through, it is so intact today. Battered, yes, but intact.