The Glory of the Glass

When I purchased the Cross House it had but a single window fully restored, a wonderful small round window in the four-story servant’s stair tower.

This left 6,987 more windows to go. Well, maybe not that many, but it does feel like it.

In addition to the standard windows, all in deplorable (but restorable) condition, the house abounds with stained-glass windows. These are one of the glories of the house. And there are 42 such glories.


These, too, are in deplorable condition. The conditions range:

  • About a third of the stained-glass windows look great. But, their lead is now 120-years old, and lead has a shelf life of a hundred years. So, even these windows are past their expiration date and really should be re-leaded.
  • About a third have some damage. Ditto though the lead issue.
  • About a third are in deplorable condition.

Having stained-glass windows restored is scary scary scary expensive. And I have forty-two. This undertaking will be THE largest most expensive line item in the whole house to be done.

However, restoring the glass is not an urgent issue. Before a dime can be justified on the pretty windows one would first need to:

  • Repair the built-in gutters
  • Repair and replace the football field-sized roofs
  • Install a kitchen
  • Install bathrooms
  • Finish the wiring
  • Restore all the main windows
  • Get the damn place insulated
  • Plaster the whole interior

So, sigh, pretty windows are not a priority.

But…but…the pretty windows are, as mentioned, one of the glories of the house. During the day, as the sun makes them alive with gorgeous colors, I get to take immense pleasure in them.

At night however, when the house is lighted, the reverse happens. Instead of offering an individual pleasure, the windows became a public pleasure. The whole city can drive or walk by and enjoy the windows alive with gorgeous colors. When the house is done, and lighted up at night, I fear for traffic accidents as people crane their necks to look at SO MANY GORGEOUS STAINED-GLASS WINDOWS. Truly, this sight will be a wonder. There will be nothing like it in Emporia. I may sell tickets.

So, sigh, I sit with this conundrum. Finish all the important, vital, and necessary stuff? Or splurge on the pretty stuff which will benefit a lot of people? I cannot afford to do both.

In the meantime, I did have a single stained-glass window restored. Just a small one. The cost was a fright. But I am ridiculously happy with the results.


kdjc cbi

So sad!


Ressurection! This fine work is by Hoeffer S

Ressurection! This fine work is by Hoefer Custom Stained Glass.



  1. Dennis on September 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Fantastic! Keep up the good work!

  2. Janie Tittel on January 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I was just emailed the link to your blog. I am loving reading all your posts! I always wondered what happened to this wonderful house after I moved away from Emporia. Now I know! So amazing seeing it start to rise to its former glory! Amazing!

  3. Krystal on January 22, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Do you know who made the windows?

    My Great Great etc…Uncle was Henry Bloomfield, master stain glass artist in England/Canada. It would be a small world and such a thrill for my family to know there are his windows in Kansas! (they were shipped all over the world).

    • Ross on January 22, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Krystal!


      Alas, I have no idea who made the stained-glass windows for the Cross House.

  4. Gregory Hubbard on September 24, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    ‘…The whole city can drive or walk by…’ ‘…traffic accidents….’

    Just you wait! When your magnificent project is done, you’ll be surprised. The perfect example for your future? Kennebunk, Maine.

    You have to be careful driving on Summer Street, at least you do in summer. Tourists, called ‘People from away’ in Maine, slam on their brakes when the ‘Wedding Cake House’ slides into view. It’s perfectly sited on a curve for maximum effect. The screeching of tires goes on all day. There’s an unofficial pull-off opposite the house to prevent accidents. People stand in the middle of the street to take photographs.

    The reason? The original house was an 1825 Federal style home of the first order. There’s a magnificent leaded fanlight and an oval staircase. In 1852, the 1825 barn caught fire, and the connecting carriage house was pulled down to save the house. The owner rebuilt the barn in the Gothic Revival style. The barn set the style for the carriage house, and both made the 1825 house look very old fashioned. So he Gothicized the house.

    The result is one of the most spectacular Gothic Revival homes in the nation. Great Lacy arches span the façade and sides, arcing from one buttress to another. All topped by pinnacles.
    Incredibly, it’s even lost ornaments. There used to be a lacy marquee projecting from the canopied front door. I believe that the fence along the street has its own individual National Register of Historic Places listing.

    There’s a wow factor. Just like your house. Just wait till you’re discovered.

  5. Heather Estes on January 27, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Please take pictures of all the windows! I’m so in love and jealous. I can’t stand it! LOL

    • Ross on January 27, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      Hi, Heather!

      If you continue reading the blog, you will find many many posts on the stained-glass windows of the house!


  6. Brenda Taylor on March 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    I’m watching your interview about the Cross House on Youtube, so I did something I’ve never done before in my life, I logged onto a blog! I love old houses and get very excited when other people like them as well. My children and I use to drive around looking for old, unique houses with great architecture. Each of them grew up appreciating remodeling and have done their share of it! I suppose you get asked all the time for tours of your house by strangers. Do you allow tours? i loved the pictures presented during the interview. Keep up the great job the you’re doing. I’m glad to see a “grand old lady” lovingly saved!!

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