The Cross House



The Cross House by Charles. W. Squires.
The Cross House by Charles. W. Squires.


A very brief history of the Cross House:

1894: Harrison and Susan Cross build the Cross House, which was completed in March. The couple had occupied a house previously on the site, which they had relocated to 624 Cottonwood (no longer extant). While the Cross House was being built the couple occupied a house just to the south of the site (516 Union; extant). In September, 1894, Mr. Cross died (six months after the Cross House was finished).

1902: Mrs. Cross dies. The Cross House, by the terms of her will, is deeded to Fred Newman, acting as a trustee for Mary Cross (b. 1885), the granddaughter of Harrison and Susan Cross.

1907: Newman sells the Cross House.

1907 – 1928: The Cross House went through a succession of owners and uses including a stint as a tea room open to the public. During this period the adjacent carriage house was sold off (about 1921) as a separate dwelling.

1929: Scout Mouse, Sr., purchased the house, and converted it into apartments.

1950: Scout Mouse, Jr., converted the house into the Palace Motel.

1960: The house was purchased by Frank and Esther Toms, and used as a fraternity, boarding house, etc.

1993: The house was purchased by Harry W. Thompson.

1999: The house, now boarded up and surrounded by a six-foot-high chain-link fence, was purchased by Debbi and Bob Rodak, and converted back into a single-family home.

2002: The Rodak’s were able to reaquire the carriage house, separated from the Cross House for a century.

2011: Bob Rodak successfully had the Cross House placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2014: The Cross House, and carriage house, were purchased by Ross MacTaggart.


Harrison Cross. Sadly, I cannot find an image of Susan Cross. Image courtesy of the Lyon County Historical Society.
Harrison C. Cross. Sadly, I cannot find an image of Susan Cross. Image courtesy of the Lyon County Historical Society.


Charles S. Cross, the only child of Susan and Harrison Cross. Image courtesy of the Lyon County Historical Society.
Charles S. Cross, the only child of Susan and Harrison Cross. Image courtesy of the Lyon County Historical Society.



17 Responses to History of the Cross House

  1. Love your house and am filled with admiration for what you’re doing. Best wishes in your restoration. I will be following you.

  2. Hi Ross, I’m an instant fan! I love the Cross House and you for restoring her – what a dream come true! You must be a pretty awesome guy to fall in love with her and be able to bring her back to full glory. Houses this beautiful and rare blow my mind! So cool. I hope I can tour it one day. ~Gia

  3. Beautiful house. We lived there and my parents ran the Palace Motel (We called it the Mouse Palace) because it was owned by Scott Mouse. At the time in was successful as I remember it. I was in the 2nd grade at the time and went to the school 1 block south. I may have some of my parents photos of the Mouse Palace. I will try to find them. I would like to see the inside the next time we are in Emporia….

  4. I so appreciate the history and reconstruction of the Cross House that you have shared with us.

    My husband and I share a very similar story as yours. I was online looking for a residence for my brother-in-law when I came across a home built in 1901 and, telling by the relators pics, it was in need of a complete renovation. It is listed for $8,500 and I just had to see it. We met with the relator the next day and I am in LOVE with the home. My husband is, too.

    I feel we are Crazy, but we can’t stop thinking of it. It has the radiators, pocket doors (that won’t open), a couple of stained-glass windows (one needs repaired), three fireplaces (all in immaculate shape), and all the orginal woodwork has never been painted or covered with carpet. No forced heat or air has ever been installed. The plaster on the walls and ceilings are in bad shape, the electric, though once updated, my husband wants it updated again. It also needs a new roof. The attic in in excellent shape.

    Oh what a dream. We are in the process of a title search now. The downside is that we have no clue what we are doing. We have always appreciated old homes and I always secretly dreamed of living in one, but neither of us knows the first thing about anything when it comes to restoring it. Ever since I saw the home all I have done is research online about restoring it.

    Your blog has helped us more than you will ever know. Thank you so very much. Hopefully we will soon be the owners too.

    God Bless and I love everything you have done.

    • Hi Kim!

      Thank you for your comment! And I am breathless to learn if you get the house!

      $8,500? A steal!

      Please please please forward an update! And I wanna see pictures!


  5. The house was and will be beautiful again. I’m sadden that Mr. Cross didn’t live long enough to see the house in all 4 seasons.

  6. It is so interesting to learn the long history of some of these houses. Thank you so much for researching and sharing this information about your project!

  7. The R. T. Davis house is catty cornered across the street from us. It’s called the Aunt Jemima house. He invented Aunt Jemima pancake mix. The mansion was built in 1883 and he died shortly after it was finished. There are a couple of sad stories like that in St. Joseph.

  8. Oopsie! Meant to say “charming Ross.”

    I just can’t get enough of this and I am going to continue to follow the progress. I have never been to Emporia but love 19th Century architectural treasures.

  9. Your home is glorious! I have a hobby of photographing historic homes and was driving through from Austin to Kansas City. I must have photographed 2 dozen homes yesterday and the Cross House was, by far, my favorite. You’re doing a fabulous job!

  10. I lived in this house two times when it was converted to apartments. The first time was in 1974, the second was in 1979. I’m glad it has been restored.

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