Terrifying 1999


Bob and Debi Rodak purchased the Cross House in 1999. It was boarded up, and surrounded by a six-foot-high chain-link fence. The house does not look too bad in the image. But wait…



WEST. This image is compressed. The house is not actually this skinny! All these images are courtesy of Bob Rodak.



WEST. Main porch.



WEST. Main porch.



SOUTHWEST. Rounded sweep of main porch.



SOUTH. Side of main porch. Note original lattice.



SOUTH. I removed the fire escape. The porch to the far right belongs to the carriage house. It was from 1921, and I removed it, too.















  1. Kim on July 26, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Just curious – how long was the house vacant? What prompted it to become so, and to fall into such disrepair?

    • Barb Sanford on July 26, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      I’m curious, too.

      I remember it being a rooming house/apartment building in 1979, because I helped someone move from the second floor to the basement (mostly so I could get a look inside the house).

      I moved from Emporia in 1983, and I don’t know what happened to the house after that. I’m so glad Bob and Debi Rodak purchased it, and then you. We might have lost this gem forever, without your stewardship.

    • Ross on July 27, 2016 at 11:45 am

      The house was turned into apartments in 1929.

      Then a motel in 1950. This was the last time any real money was spent on the house till the Rodaks.

      The Tom family purchased the house in 1960. They sometimes ran it as a motel, sometimes a boarding house, sometimes both, and sometimes they rented the whole place to a fraternity or sorority. They were unable to really cope with the deteriorating structure, and a lot of maintenance was deferred.

      They sold in 1993 to Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, who planned to convert the house to a B&B and dining room. Their plans never moved ahead, and nothing was done to the house during their ownership. They eventually had the house boarded up, and installed a chain-link fence. This may have been mandated by the city.

  2. Carrie Segura on July 27, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Yes sir, this is how my memory remembers this house. She was like this fir several years before I moved from Emporia to Texas. But even in that condition I was in love with her. When I lived on exchange street I’d walk down and walk around her and just fantaize of her back in her glory days and dream of owning her one day. My first good look at her was when I was 10 and asked my mom to stop so we could look at it. I believe then, if my memory is right, it was like a girls home or something like it. Just to give you a time line I’m 41 now. I can not wait until I visit my sister there in November and get to go see her (the house) now. I honest to god feel like I want to give that big ol’ lovely girl a hug and tell her welcome back darling….welcome back. Its so emotional i swear. And bless you, bless you, bless you for bringing her back to life!!! I’m living a dream vicariously through you.

  3. Carrie Segura on July 27, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Ross do u have an email you wouldn’t mind me sending a question to? I won’t bother you on it just 1 question

  4. Bethany on August 1, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for a review of the before pictures. I never get tired of looking at them and appreciating your fine work since!

  5. Elizabeth on October 20, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    The work you have done on this house is so astonishing. Wow!

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