The Cross House
In 1960, the Cross House was purchased by Frank and Esther Toms. The house was later inherited by their son, Bob, who sold it in 1993.
This thirty-three-year period of ownership is the longest in the 123-year history of the house. Even longer than the thirty-one-year history of the Mouse family.
I have been told by neighbors that Frank Toms loved roses, and the south side of the house had many flowering rose bushes. Today, a single rose bush exists, and I have been careful to protect it. Is this the remaining Frank rose?
So far, I have not revealed my garden plans, but do intend an oval-shaped south-facing rose garden in honor of Frank.
A while back I heard a story about Esther, and her great love of doing puzzles. I was told that when a puzzle was finished she hung them on the walls of the dining room, which the Toms used as a family parlor.
Was this story true?
Today, while looking through the hundreds of images Rob Rodak graciously gave me, I was startled to find something extraordinary:
During their long ownership the Toms ran the house as a motel and boarding house. They also leased most of the house to a fraternity and sorority (although not at the same time!), while they resided in an L-shaped apartment on the first floor. The apartment comprised the 1894 dining room, kitchen, and library.
Without the long ownership and care taken by by the Mouse family and the Toms family, I doubt the house would exist today. Those years, 1929 to 1993, were vulnerable years for big old house and many countless thousands were smashed to the ground with nary a thought.
When Frank and Esther purchased the house it was 66-years-old. A huge, wood, 66-year-old house. But I have never seen any images during the Toms years where the house did not look neat, cared for, and loved.