Intersection Magnifique

In 1894, the year the Cross House was built, the intersection of Union and Sixth in Emporia, Kansas, was Ground Zero for fine homes. On each corner were elegant structures occupied by the city’s elite.



Intersection Magnifique.


On the NW corner was the magnificent Plumb House, occupied by Caroline Plumb, the widow of US Senator, Preston B. Plumb.


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Preston Bierce Plumb, 1837 – 1891. Bierce????? And it is difficult to imagine that facial hair of this style was once considered attractive.



The Plumb House. The structure was later dramatically enlarged and altered beyond recognition by Caroline Plumb. Image Lyon County Historical Society.



The Plumb House is shown at the top (north), and on the bottom is 523 Union.


On the SE corner was the splendid new Cross House, built for Harrison and Susan Cross.



The Cross House, 1894.



The Cross House and its adjacent carriage house (the house number is 526, not 528).


However, no amount of sleuthing on my part has uncovered images of the long demolished structures which stood on the other two corners. Quite vexing! Today, one lot is occupied by a car wash (NE corner), and the other a parking lot and offices for the Lyon County Historical Society (SW corner).

So, the Intersection Magnifique has…declined in time. Sigh.

A few weeks ago, Eric, my neighbor who also lives in a Squires-designed edifice (Squires designed the Cross House), alerted me to a postcard available on eBay. And there — oh, be still my beating heart — was a tantazling glimpse of the long-lost 602 Union, on the NE corner.



You are looking north. The Cross House is is out of the picture to the right. On the left is the newly rebuilt Plumb House on the NW corner. But — drum-roll , please — on the right is the long-lost 602 Union. Whoee! Oh, make sure to click image to enlarge! FABULOUS! And do you see the lady with the stroller?



The long-lost 602 Union. Hello, baby!



While 602 is long gone, its neighbor at 610 is extant.


Is it possible that 602 Union was moved rather than demolished? It gable end was distinctive, so the hunt is on!

And the hunt continues for an image of 523 Union.

Stay tuned!


  1. amyheavilin on March 28, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I bet you a dollar “Bierce” is his mother’s maiden name. Super common then!

  2. Denali Dragonfly "Grace" on March 28, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I LOVE this!

    So it was Mrs. Plumb that added the brick library!? I always assumed it was the Senator.

    • Ross on March 28, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Yes, Caroline was quite the builder! There is a long-held story that she was jealous of the new Cross House, so had to outdo her neighbors. But, there is nothing which substantiates this.

  3. Barb Sanford on March 28, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    If I remember my Emporia history correctly, Preston P. Plumb is one of the city founders. And Amy Heavilin is correct: Bierce is his mother’s maiden name, according to this website:

    • Ross on March 28, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      You are correct on both counts! And Amy was correct, too!

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