This page is about Emporia-related restorations. Or Emporia-related real-estate needing restoration. Or Emporia-related real-estate that I just like. Or just cool stuff in Emporia.
Emporia, Kansas, is a city of 25,000 people, and right in the middle of America.
I have always liked the name Emporia. It has a nice 19th-century flavor.
Looking for Mr. Squires
The Cross House was designed by architect Charles W. Squires. But who was Squires? I can only find scant historical documentation, and would love to learn more. Charles Wesley Squires was in born Southampton Township, Long Island, New York on February 5, 1851, and lived there until 1870 when he left for Columbus, Ohio, to study…Continue Reading
Small City; Large Impact — William Allen White
It is a common belief that if one does not live in a major urban center like New York City, or Los Angles, that one, well, really does not exist. William Allen White (1868 – 1944) would have disagreed.White was the owner of the Emporia Gazette, as well as a politician, author, and leader of the Progressive movement. White was…Continue Reading
My favorite blog is about, not surprisingly, old house. The blog is a feast of gorgeous old houses. And all for sale! Old House Dreams is owned by Kelly, and she works hard at making her blog incredibly user-friendly, and rich with great posts and great comments from her users. Daily, I look at Old…Continue Reading
The House Which Lost its Face
Across the street from the Cross House, at 517 Union, is a house. It is painted blue. So, I always think of it as the Blue House. A glance reveals that the house has been much altered over the years. Windows have been changed, porches enclosed, and the whole re-sided. Still, the house looked to…Continue Reading
Endangered Houses: 725 Exchange
I have a terrible affliction. I want to save every old, endangered house I come across. The affliction is powerful and debilitating. When I was in high school, I was riding my bike along Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida, and stopped dead in my tracks in front of a lovely 1920s bungalow. It looked…Continue Reading
Favorite Houses: 831 Constitution
At the corner of Ninth and Constitution, in Emporia, is a remarkable house: the Keebler House. One cannot drive by without craning a neck to admire. The house has a dollhouse-like appearance. It is charming to an extreme, and looks like something a giant would eat in a children’s fairy tale — a delicious cookie….Continue Reading
Favorite Houses: 625 Union
For a long time I have lusted after this home. It is a block north from the Cross House, and was built, I believe, in the 1870s. What is particularly remarkable about the house is that its two intricate wood porches are largely intact. After almost 150 years? This is extraordinary. And what porches they…Continue Reading
Endangered Houses: 1308 Sixth Avenue
Before WWII, it was common for people to walk along Main Street, and peer in the many enticing window displays. They either walked to Main Street from their house a few blocks away, or got on their horse (in the early days), or drove their car. After WWII, people no longer wanted to walk while…Continue Reading
Favorite Houses: 701 State Street
Some houses get me REALLY excited. Such as 701 State. This is house easily overlook. But do not be fooled by its current appearance. This is a FABULOUS house. If the circa-1950s siding were removed, the missing bits of the porch reinstated, and original colors reintroduced, 701 State would STOP TRAFFIC. …Continue Reading
R.I.P.: 1002 Market Street
I am always sad to lose a house. It is rare that I think a house cannot be saved. A concurrent concern is how demolition diminishes a neighborhood. While I well appreciate that an empty house invites problems, demolition is a draconian, permanent solution to a temporary problem. Surely there must be a better way?…Continue Reading
Miraculous Survivors: Porches
While wood houses can last centuries (with a decent roof), wood porches are rarely so lucky. Porches are highly vulnerable to the elements, and in an age before pressure-treated lumber became the norm, wood porches rotted. It was not uncommon for an 1895 wood porch to be totally punky by 1915. Porches are also highly…Continue Reading
Alert! Alert! House Kidnapped by Aliens!
On the southwest corner on Ninth Avenue and Exchange Street is a GORGEOUS foundation for a house. But, no house sits on it. Obviously, there once was a house on the foundation. And, based on the remarkable nature of the foundation, it must have been quite the house. At some point however the house was,…Continue Reading
Prolifically Mysterious & Curvaceous
For years now, as I have slowly driven around the leafy residential districts of Emporia, I have noted houses which must be by the same architect as they all have certain characteristic details, the most telling of which is a curvaceous piece of trim under the windows. Most houses have no such trim, curvaceous or…Continue Reading
Favorite Houses: 819 Constitution
Constitution, between 8th and 9th Streets, in Emporia, Kansas, would be almost unrecognizable today to anybody who lived on the street before WWII. Of the eleven houses which graced the street in 1911, only three remain today. The rest have been demolished for parking lots, and a church. What remains though is highly attractive. The…Continue Reading
A Curiosity: 821 Market
Some houses just make one stop and think: What? Such a house is 821 Market. I mean, WHAT happened to this house? WHAT did it originally look like? The house is now divided into two condo units. Clearly, it was further altered. The hex-shaped windows are not original, and nor is the brick. A door,…Continue Reading
Favorite Houses: 1015 State
Under the growth, under the jungle, under the camouflage, there is a house. I suspect it is a fabulous house. I suspect, rather than know, because the house is almost entirely hidden under a wild green cover.Continue Reading
Favorite House: 810 Mechanic.
This is a house easily passed by. The exterior has been heavily renovated. The siding is circa-1950 and circa-1990. The original front porch is long gone. But…but…what remains is highly tantalizing, and speaks for a GORGEOUS home if the whole were restored. The house is just a block from the main street, and the restored…Continue Reading
Favorite Houses: 911 Union
This is a tale of two houses. 911 Union. 819 Constitution. The Union Street house does not, at first glance, look like much. The whole is covered in white paint (originally the house would have been in several shades of earth tones). The front porch is missing, too, giving the facade a blank expression. And…Continue Reading
Urban Planning 101
Really, urban planning is not hard. However, based on the countless urban planning disasters since WWII, one would think urban planning is some incredibly complicated and obtuse thing to understand. It ain’t. For example, in designing a building for an urban location, like a Main Street, there are just three rules: 1) Make sure the…Continue Reading
A Lustron In Emporia!
What, you might ask, is a Lustron? After WWII, factories across America were suddenly idle. As were many millions of workers. One man had an idea: why not transform the steel factories which had created tanks and battleships into factories creating housing? Thus, the dream of Carl Strandlund became reality, and Luston built around 3,000…Continue Reading