The Cross House when brand new. See brand new curb? See the sidewalk? See a SECOND curb next to the sidewalk? Click image to hugely enlarge, then click again. (Walter Anderson Collection ESU Archives)
The mystery curb, looking south.
The mystery curb looking east.
The mystery curb fascinates me. Why is it there? What purpose does it serve?
Well, I love my mysterious curb. Since buying the house in 2014, I weekly weed-wack the curb to glorious visibility.
This is a Sanborn map of 1893. The mystery curb is on the east and west side of the Cross House (left). The mystery curb is also in front of the adjacent carriage house. But…the mystery curb continues running south in front of 516 Union and all the way down to 506 Union.
I read somewhere that Harrison Cross built the three houses next to the Cross House, numbers 516, 506, and 502 (demolished). Was the curb a Harrison Cross signature?
I have never seen an “inner” curb anywhere else. Have you?
The curb in front of the carriage house.
516 Union. This circa-1880 house has been heavily altered outside but is amazingly intact inside; just glorious. I swooned when first in it.
The overgrown inner curb to 516.
510 Union (circa-1910 and perhaps by architect Charles Squires, who designed the Cross House) was an empty lot when the Cross House was built but…
…it is nonetheless curbed!
506 Union, late 1880s. The porch is decades later (replacing the original porch) and is, I suspect, by Charles Squires.
The curb to 506 Union.
Another mystery is why didn’t the curb extend to 502 Union (right)? The house was unusually close to the street; was there not enough room?
By 1899, 502 Union had been replaced with a new house, with a setback aligning with the other houses on the block. I wonder though. What if Harrison Cross only built 516 and 506? What if he never owned 502 (Cross died in 1894), which might explain why it, alone on the whole block front, had no inner curb.
Before building the Cross House, Harrison and Susan Cross lived in a much smaller house on the same lot. This house was moved to a new location, and the Cross’ moved into 516 Union when their big new house was being constructed.
- If it is true that Harrison Cross built 516, 506, and perhaps also 502 Union, does the mystery curb predate the Cross House? If Harrison built a mini-development on Union, was the inner curb a kinda signature?
- Or were the curbs installed when the Cross House was built, and then added to 516, the 510 lot, and 506?
- Or did 516, the 510 lot, and 506 already have inner curbs? With one then being added at the big new Cross House?
So many mysteries!