The Cross House
Porches have a short shelf life
For two reasons:
1) Wood does not respond well to being left out in the elements. Its rots. So, a porch built in the 1890s was normally in poor condition by, say, 1920.
2) As with clothes, cars, and hairstyles, houses are either fashionable…or not. A house built in the 1890s was deeply unfashionable by the 1920s. Kinda embarrassing even. The easiest way to update an exterior would be to lop off its porch, and replace it with one more fashionable. As such, thousands of homes across America had their Victorian-era porches replaced with mission-style or Colonial-Revival-style porches during the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s.
Numbers 1 & 2 often went hand-in-hand. If you had a porch that was rotting, why not replace it, and at the same time update it?
In short, it is rare that a porch built in the 19th-century is still around in 2015. Very rare.
The house above typifies a widespread issue: original porches on old houses are rare.
Which makes the porch of the Cross House all the more remarkable.
This week, these six columns are being returned to the 1894 porch where they have not been since 1999 (I found them in the backyard).
The balustrades are being brought back to life by Dr. Doug as we speak. Pray for them.
I have already had one section of lattice recreated. After the balustrades are back from the hospital, the remaining lattice will be ordered. And some of it will be curved!
A few months ago I had the missing column capitals recast in resin from the remaining originals (hand-carved redwood).
There are 6796 vital issues to deal with regarding the restoration of the Cross House.
However, the item which MOST excites me, and the one which I have been greatly anticipating above all others, is the restoration of the expansive front porch. For, no matter how gorgeous everything else might be (and there are lots of gorgeous bits), the Cross House will never look right with its front porch not quite right. It is like looking at a beautiful woman…who smiles…only to reveal several missing teeth.
Well, stay tuned to Part 2, as the adventure continues!
I am breathless with anticipation!