The Cross House

An Extraordinary Discovery!

Today, I received an email.

The email made me…gasp! Gasp!


I have previously shown this image. The image is from the 1950s and shows the Cross House when it was the Mouse PALACE MOTEL. Of note is the neon sign, left side. The Mouse family owned the house from 1929 to 1960. The family is still in Emporia and they have been wonderfully gracious with stories and archival materials. (Image Mouse family archives.)


I have done several posts about the neon sign, long gone, and it seems that it really IS gone. Sigh.


The email today was from Staci. Staci and her husband, Rick, own Coffelt Signs in Emporia. Recently, Coffelt recreated the neon sign to the 1900 Theater in Strong City, something I have been dreaming about for two decades.

Well, in her email, Staci wrote that a friend of hers, Sarah, owned an antique store in Cottonwood Falls, and had come across an old photograph album. Looking through the album, Sarah realized that it was an album from the late 1940s and 1950s documenting signs created and installed by Coffelt Signs. And Sarah used to work for Coffelt.

So, how astonishing is this? Sarah comes across an album of images. Which had bounced around from person to person over time. The album was something which touched Sarah’s past. And then Sarah returned the album to Coffelt (Staci and Rick).

Staci, utterly gobsmacked, looked through the album. She then came across two images. And instantly knew one thing: Ross is going to go crazy!

And that is when she sent me an email. With two attached images.

Wanna see?

Scroll way down…























OMG! OMG! OMG! Click images to enlarge. That is Staci’s dad, left.


OMG!!!!!!!! See the Sinclair station to the left?


It is still there. The neon sign was next to the street lamp, just left of center.


Again. This image offers a double whammy. For, see just above the truck?


There is ANOTHER sign! I had no idea that this sign ever existed! It does not appear to be a neon sign, just painted.


Well, fewer things get me more excited.

I offer a HUGE hug to Sarah and Staci and Rick.




25 Responses to An Extraordinary Discovery!

  1. This is interesting, My father, mother, and me lived in the Mouse Palace and ran the motel about 1953 or 1955. We were friends with the mouse’s (Scott Mouse I think) and ran their hotel for them. I went to 2nd grade at the grade school a block south of the hotel. I may have pictures of the motel at that time.

  2. So neat, wow! Comparing the pictures it looks like the steel post goes right through the sign and then the vacancy part is added. This probably allowed for underground wiring. Interesting.

  3. How very VERY cool! As soon as I started reading this and the top of that black and white pic came into view I started bouncing up and down in my chair hoping the Mouse Palace sign had turned up, and while this is not as amazing as the locating of the actual sign – I STRONGLY feel that WILL happen though, I seriously do – this IS just fabulous.

    Would a story in the local paper, asking if anyone has any Mouse Palace knowledge to share, be worth considering? Who knows what older residents might have tucked away. Oh, andd… the paper would do a recap on the restoration story, surely, and a photographer with a fancy camera could come out at dusk and be able to capture your lady with her sparkling jewels on display to maximum effect. I’m sure Emporia as a whole would love an update on progress.

  4. -It goes to show that when you put such positive energy into something, amazing things come back. The thing that I like best about these photos is that they give you so much information that you could use if you wanted to reproduce the sign. It looks like it is neon ready, but was not transported with the neon in place. One can see the exact placement of the brackets and holes for the glass tubing. I would guess that the base to the post is underground, because posts were usually just cut off below the surface rather than having the entire concrete slab excavated. I wouldn’t be surprised if the wires are still running in conduit underground to the house. Have you ever tried to find where the wiring originally came in? The usual path underground would have been the shortest distance to the house.
    -The story of Sarah’s finding of the images is really great. I would love to know the story from her viewpoint. Did she work for Coffelt before it was owned by her friends, or id that how she became their friends? Did she happen upon the album in a box that she had picked up in her travels? Who had them before? The list of questions goes on and on.

  5. Merry Christmas, Ross, and many thanks for giving me the pleasure of reading your blog (read its entirety twice). I wish you continued health and progress on your dream in the new year. As a Canadian with a very basic understanding of American politics, I also enjoy your political postings. Have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday and rest assured this fan of the Cross House will be reading your blog faithfully!!!!

  6. Ross, I was just wanting to check on you. You haven’t posted in a while and I was worried that maybe you were not feeling well. I hope everything is ok. Merry Christmas to you and thank you for all the joy you bring to your followers.

  7. Miri Kirihimiti / Merry Christmas Ross. I was also checking in to see if you were okay 🙂 May your Christmas be full of cheer.

  8. That’s a PHEW from me too! I was also worried, very happy to hear is all good in Rossland,

    Christmas wishes from the UK to you all! 🎄✨❤️😁🎅

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