The Cross House
Let the games begin!
This is the second of a series of Discovery posts, and all based on the Bo Adventure!
I have really weird front doors.
There are three entry vestibules in the Cross House, and each has an inner and outer set of doors.
The main entry faces west, and this has double door sets. The inner set is…normal. The outer set is…abnormal.
Bo noticed this right away, and offered an explanation as to their odd nature, and a potential way to undo the odd nature.
During the Bo visit, it was conjectured that:
- The outer doors had been originally installed inside the door frame as is normal.
- Under the infill trim would be evidence of butt hinges having originally been mortised into the rabbet.
- The outer doors perhaps had been removed at some point and stored.
- Many years later they were put back in place, but the installer did not realize that the infill trim could be removed.
- So, the underscaled, dumb-ass hinges were inelegantly mortised into the door trim.
All this conjecture fell apart today.
I removed the infill trim, breathless to find the certain evidence of where the original Kelp hinges had been mortised into the rabbet (all the exterior doors have Kelp-style hinges by Yale & Towne).
But…but…oh…huh…as the image above shows, Kelp hinges had never been mortised into the rabbet. Nor any hinges.
This means that the doors were never installed within the door frame as is normal.
Moreover, under the infill trim, the rabbet is raw wood. I expected to find varnished wood. This means that not only were hinges never installed in the frame, but the infill rabbet trim was installed before the house was finished.
The doors are 99.9% likely to be original. They match the outer door at the north entrance, and they seem to be in place in an 1895 image (the image is a bit fuzzy), and are in place in all subsequent images.
Also, the doors were never mortised for any hinges other than the underscaled, dumb-ass extant hinges.
The new conjecture?
The doors were abnormally installed in 1894.
And I think I now know why.
- The outer west doors were designed to be installed normally, into rabbets in the door frame.
- BEFORE the doors were installed however, it was realized that they would, well, look like doors when open.
- So, a decision was made to, instead, install the doors ABNORMALLY, but with the elegant end effect of looking like paneling.
This paneling effect is something I have admired from day one, and I can appreciate why this change was made.
A QUESTION STILL OUTSTANDING
Ok. All the above conjecture seems dandy.
But why the underscaled dumb-ass hinges? The house abounds with FABULOUS Yale & Towne hardware. So why were dumb-ass hinges installed in 1894 on the west outer doors?
All my conjecture could be wrong.