When the Cross House was built in 1894, it was state-of-the-art. It had new-fangled radiators, a telephone closet, a built-in ice chest, speaking tubes, and ELECTRIC LIGHTING! Yes, ELECTRIC LIGHTING!
This would have seemed a wonder to visitors.
In 1879, Thomas Edison invented the first commercially practical incandescent light bulb, and in 1882 Edison created, in New York City, the first practical system for generating electricity for homes and businesses.
During the late 1880s and 1890s, cities across America rushed to build electric generating plants, such as East Coast cities Taunton (1886), Bath (1890), Exeter (1890) and Bristol (1893).
The White House was wired for electricity in 1891.
With such a timeline in mind, the Cross House was perhaps the first private residence in Emporia to have electric lighting.
Still, people were long used to gas lighting, and early electric plants often failed. As such, electric fixtures of the era were gas/electric combinations.
I have owned the Cross House about two years now, and only now do I have an understanding about a cool original feature of the house: its sconces. Why though did the dining room alone NOT have sconces? No amount of sleuthing revealed their location in other parts of the room. So, a mystery!
Well, now that I get all this about the house, I suddenly feel compelled to recreate all the lost sconces. COMPELLED! Even though a week ago no such compulsion was in effect.
I hate knowledge. It just leads to more friggin’ work. And expense.