The Cross House

Another Mystery Revealed?

Well, I am breathless with excitement! However, some background first! I did a post yesterday about several mysteries surrounding the first-floor bathroom of the Cross House. When I purchased the house in 2014, the bathroom was laid out as such.


I surmised however that the full bath in 2014 had, in 1894, been a half-bath. Like this. But I had no proof.


While the room looked like this in 1999…


…it looked like this a few months after I purchased the house. The previous owner had removed all the trim (stored for now), and the plaster on the wall to the right. Then I had to wholly rebuild the wall to the left due to termite damage. Thus, there just was no evidence as to What Was. Or…was there? Was there???????? After my post yesterday, an idea popped into my head. And today, I breathlessly raced to the Cross House to prove my idea correct.


While the plaster which would retain some historic information was gone, I still had the white quartz wainscoting! Currently sitting in the dining room! And might THIS offer any valuable clues???????? So, above is THE piece. And it abounds with information! I never noticed before! You can see the outline of the assumed 1929 sink (upper left) and 1929 toilet tank (center). There are also holes obviously associated with these fixtures. But what about the other holes????????


Such as these? THESE holes attracted my special attention. The matched pair of holes (two left ovals) are exactly located where brackets might have been holding up a marble vanity. Like…


…this. The holes are about 32-inches apart, which is JUST the width of marble vanities I usually see in the old catalogs! Zounds!


And, what about the holes to the right?


Well, this is the type toilet which would have been in the house. Note the wall clamp holding the vertical pipe? Gadzooks!


So, summing up, all these holes would indicate a pair of brackets to hold a marble vanity, and holes for a high-tank toilet pipe. But what about the other holes?


These holes?


See the small hole at the bottom? I have no idea what that was for. The two holes above it were obviously the hot/cold lines. The two larger holes below were drain lines.

MYSTERY QUESTION #1: But why two drain lines? Was one for the 1894 sink, and the other for the 1929 sink?

MYSTERY QUESTION #2: Why are the drain holes NOT centered under the assumed 1894 vanity or 1929 sink? This is REALLY odd. (NOTE: The sinks never drained through the floor. They drained into the wall, and then to the basement.)

MYSTERY QUESTION #3: In the oval, top left, are more holes. What are these for? Ditto with the holes over to the right. I assume these were for a soap dish and glass holder attached to the white quartz? But the hole patterns are so odd.

MYSTERY QUESTION #4: There should be an outline where the marble vanity kissed the white quartz. Like a thin horizontal line about 32-inches long. But I discern no such clue. When the vanity was removed, was the quartz polished clean?

There is no longer any evidence in the basement ceiling to help with answering the question of how the bathroom was originally laid out. No, the only extent clues are encoded in the white quartz slab.



I feel confident that the bathroom was, indeed, originally a half bath. The vanity was to the left, and held up by brackets. A high-tank toilet was to the right.

Did each fixture rest upon marble slabs inset into the tile floor? I have no evidence to support this. But suspect it.





14 Responses to Another Mystery Revealed?

    • I thought the same, but have not seen any catalog images showing an off-center sink. That does not mean that one did not exist though!

  1. While I am no expert on 1894 bathrooms, could the 2 holes to the right be for a “tissue” holder? I love all your work this summer and always marvel at your progress!

    • I am pretty sure the holes to the right were for a clamp holding the toilet pipe. And they are too high for a tissue holder!

      Actually, tomorrow I am going to see if the quartz slab on the OTHER wall shows evidence of a tissue holder! Please stand by!

  2. A 32″ wide slab-top sink is a bit wide for brackets, especially with only two mounting holes and no mounting holes for the lower extension of the brackets. I expect you had a slab-top on legs like you showed earlier. These legs typically had a slotted bracket on the top that held a marble skirt across the front and marble skirts that ran back to slotted brackets on the wall. These brackets would have mounted at the top only with two screws, concealed perhaps when the marble skirts slipped into the slots. So I vote legs rather than brackets:



  3. It may be my imagination, but I can make out some circular marks (pencil?) a little bit to the left of the bottom drain hole. Also, a circle around the small hole at the bottom, which I believe was the beginning of another drain hole.

    As if they couldn’t make up their minds about where the new drain should go.

  4. As for the mystery #2, did you check to see how the studs in the wall line up with the holes? If there was a stud in the way, then that would explain the drain being off-center…

    • The studs were termite damaged so I removed them. It’s also not likely that the architect would have tolerated a screwed-up drain line!

      • It may not have been a screw-up. Years ago, I worked for a plumbing distributor, and I remember seeing very old sink drains with off-set traps. I did a little searching, and found a picture of one here.

        The trap was built like a small chamber with a removable cover, and the outlet to the wall or floor was off to one side. It is from the correct time period, so this might be your answer…

  5. This might be a very silly suggestion, but the 2 sets of diagonal holes wouldn’t be for a mirror of some type would they? That would maybe explain why they are laid out so strangely. Are they centered on the original vanity? In your previous post it looks like there is a backsplash or mirror set behind the vanity, maybe those were to hold that bit on (screwed in behind the sink basin)for a more seamless look? (Absolute conjecture here, ha!)

  6. Ross, what if the two sets of three holes were for some kind of shelf above the vanity counter? Either that or, as Ashton Radley said, a mirror above the vanity makes sense to me because the holes look centred.

  7. Do the two vertical holes that would hold the pipe line up with the center of the small oval window?If so maybe the tank was mounted below that window explaining why it is small and up high.

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