A Petite Discovery

Last May, I did two posts (here and here) about the discovery that the Cross House originally had a call system, involving “doorbells” in every room, and an attendant annunciator in the kitchen.

It was all rather breathless, and all thanks to Blair!


In the dining room I realized that this push switch was the only remaining component of the 1894 system, other than all the thin wires still snaking through the house. Well, opposite this window…


…is another window, facing east. And look what I discovered…


…but a second call bell. See the wires? See the round outline of the bell?


So, the dining room had TWO call bells!

NOTE: There is no evidence that there was a floor bell. I checked!





  1. Cody H on March 4, 2019 at 1:18 am

    Makes one wonder what on gods green earth they would have needed two call bells in the same room for…hmmmmm.

    Maybe each push rang a bell in a different location? In case the help was on another floor, etc?

    • Seth Hoffman on March 4, 2019 at 8:45 am

      Perhaps they were in locations where one of the hosts could easily reach from their seat at the dining table, or side chairs? I would imagine they wanted them so they could conveniently be reached without getting up and walking across the room.

      • Ross on March 4, 2019 at 10:06 am

        That was my thought, too, Seth.

        • Cody H on March 5, 2019 at 12:37 pm

          What splendor in laziness…ah, the 1890’s.

  2. Seth Hoffman on March 4, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Were all of the room call bells mounted to door or window casing? It seems that would be easy to find all the locations from the scars left behind.

    I suspect it will not be this easy, though.

    • Ross on March 4, 2019 at 10:05 am

      The dining room is the only room where the call bells were installed on the trim.

      In all the other rooms the bells appear to have been installed onto the plaster.

      • Seth Hoffman on March 4, 2019 at 11:41 am

        I’m sure your careful approach of restoration will reveal traces of them in the plaster walls elsewhere too. You’ve probably been finding the remains of wires in the walls as well, which will help fill in the gaps of where they were.

  3. Jordan on March 4, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Are you going to reinstate them Ross?

  4. Cindy Belanger on March 4, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    That’s really cool Ross. Now I know you are going to want to get this hooked up and working at some point. (In your spare time) hahaha

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