The Cross House

Mysteries Solved?

Five days ago I did a post about a large white quartz slab.

The slab is the east-side wainscoting of the first-floor bathroom of the Cross House.

Because I have no original floor plans of the first-floor (drat!), and a lot of the plaster has been removed in the bathroom, and the original floor has been changed (but is still largely intact), it is difficult if not impossible to reconstruct what was built in 1894 in terms of the sink location, its type, and toilet location.

But, as I belatedly realized, the quartz slab is encoded with information.

I just needed to learn its language. And with your help, Megan, and Bo, I think its code has been cracked.



The blue tape represents where I think, think, the 1894 mable vanity was. Above, are five holes, connected by a red line I drew on. I labeled them previously as Holes #3. WHAT language were they speaking? WHAT were they trying to tell me?


At first I thought they might hold accessory pieces like a glass holder and soap dish.

Later, while STARING at the slab for a long while, an idea popped into my head. An idea!

What if the five holes were a mounting bar for a previously unknown Missing Link sink? The 1894 vanity was long gone when I purchased the house. In its place was a porcelain sink installed in, I believe, 1929.

But…what if…there had been a sink installed AFTER the 1894 sink, but BEFORE the 1929 sink?

Late last night Megan wrote in. She was tired and going to bed, but she offered a link to something which might solve the mystery:


Again, note the distinctive pattern of Holes #3.


And this is the type hardware which Meg linked to. OF COURSE! This is a typical cast-iron mounting bar for a wall-mounted sink. See the distinctive pairs of diagonal holes to the sides? See a hole in the center? BINGO! OMG, I was breathless last night!


This is I think, think, the kind of marble vanity which would have been installed in 1894.


As of last night, I now think it was replaced at some point before 1929 with this type sink. This type sink requires a cast-iron mounting bracket like Megan found.


In 1929, I think, sink #2 was replaced with this much smaller type sink. Its outline, and cast-iron mounting bracket, are still visible on the quartz slab. I have these items in storage.


Previously, I hypothesized why sink #1 was replaced.

The Cross House was a private residence for only a short while. Around 1910 the house became a sanitarium. In the 1920s it became a tea house. The original marble vanity, I am guessing, was replaced during this period to one more suited to commercial usage. Or perhaps the marble vanity was damaged.

In 1929 the house was converted into apartments. The owner, Scott Mouse, created a suite for his family on the first floor. While there was a first-floor bathroom, it had no tub. So, the bathroom was remodeled, and a tub installed. And because sink #2 was too wide, a  much narrower sink (#3) was installed, and squeezed into the corner without an inch to spare.

More evidence as to all this wild & crazy conjecture?


This image hugely enlarges (as do all the images). I have enhanced the image to show some details. Inside the red square is a faint dark outline, and with a curved edge (upper left). See it?


This outline. Which would be the upper left imprint of…


…sink #2.





Under the blue tape, which is where a possible marble-topped vanity was in 1894, are a pair of vertically-aligned holes. But the holes don’t match with any mounting brackets I know of. Bo was stumped, too! If they were not holes to support the sink, what else could they be?


In March, I did a post which showed these brackets. Critically, note how the bracket is attached to the wall just under the counter. Do you see what I see? TWO VERTICALLY-ALIGNED SCREWS! This exact bracket would not have been installed in the Cross House in 1894, but it offers proof that vertically-aligned double mounting holes were a reality.


So, B-511 is kinda sorta what I think, think, I had in 1894. A pair of legs, with wall-mounted supports under a marble apron. The wall supports would, of course, have had vertically-aligned screws.




Five days ago I did not even realize that I had a quartz slab encoded with information.

Five days ago I did not have a clue what this information even meant.


I think, think, the following:

  1. The first-floor bath was, indeed, a half-bath when built in 1894.
  2. It had  marble vanity to the left, and…
  3. …a high-tank toilet to the right.
  4. Each might, might, have rested upon marble floor slabs.
  5. The 1894 vanity was replaced with a wall-hung porcelain-finished sink. Sink #2. I am guessing this was after 1915 but before 1929.
  6. When sink #2 was installed, a new toilet may have also been installed. The toilet in the room when I purchased the house is dated 1926.
  7. In 1929, #2 sink was replaced with a smaller wall-hung porcelain-finished sink, and a tub was installed. It also possible that the 1926 toilet was installed at this time.
  8. If the original vanity and toilet rested upon marble floor slabs, these would have been removed in the 1929 conversion as the sink and toilet locations were changed.



Old houses speak to us.

Time is imprinted upon walls, floors, and ceilings. And these imprints can tell us much. If we are willing to listen.

To watch HGTV, one would think that fixing up an old house first requires a total gut. This pains me to no end, and I cannot even watch such shows.

When a house is gutted, massive amounts of information are thrown into the dumpster. So, too, is the soul of a house. It is true that I cannot quantify that houses have souls, but we all know, in an instant, when we walk into a house with no soul. Such houses feel dead.

For me, one of the most enjoyable things about restoring a house is revealing its many mysteries. Like reading a great detective novel, I enjoy finding clues and then trying to unravel their meaning. Soooooo much fun! And the emotional payoff when you figure something out? Oh, baby!!!!!!!!

In my 1894 house, much has been changed in one bathroom. Much has been lost. But a single slab of quartz, which has been sitting in the dining room for two years now, was bursting with information. And I only just now heard it call out to me.

Had I discarded the quartz (it looks pretty bad), I would have also discarded its voice, its message.



Restoring the Cross House has proved much easier than expected in one significant way: You.

This blog reaches people across the globe. Really! And readers comment and offer advice and sources and support. Stuff that I just cannot figure out for the life of me? I have learned to just blog about it, and somebody will write in with the answer.

In trying to resolve the mysteries of the quartz slab, Bo Sullivan spent a lot of time privately sending me a lot of information, and generously going back/forth with me about ideas. I love Bo!

And late last night, before she went to bed, Megan wrote it. And handed me a gift: the answer to mystery holes #3! I wrote right back: I LOVE YOU! I hope her husband does not read this blog.

This is the second time actually that Megan gifted me. Last year she solved another great mystery. You can read all about it here and here.

So… hug?
…group hug?




7 Responses to Mysteries Solved?

  1. Ross you are my inspiration and hero! What you said about souls and houses, I couldn’t agree more. The house in Oregon MO, just north of St. Joe, may get to be mine. It’s a long story between the owner and the town, but they will be voting on whether to demolish it, which I pray not, or sell it to me for renovation. I so hope the vote is for saving. Just want you to know that if I do get the house, I will be checking your blog often (I read every post anyway)and asking for advice. I think you do have your mystery solved.

    • Hah! Professor Henry Higgins to Eliza Doolittle, what? Going with the English theme, Ross should dub his continent-spanning information corps the “Union Street Irregulars”

  2. One more conclusion can be reached:
    9. The original vanity was of the type that had an apron on the sides and front supported by legs at the front corners and the leg braces mounted to the wall below the apron via two screws each.

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