The 1894 Cross House sits on a mighty limestone foundation. All the images enlarge if you click on them. Courtesy Walter Anderson Collection, ESU Archives.
This foundation is one of my favorite aspects of the house.
All the corners are “dressed” with margins. I had to Google that! A lovely detail creating a finishing touch. Nice. Most of the visible foundation is about three-feet-high.
I am soooooooo in love with this eyebrow window under the dining room. Tragically, it is not currently much noticed. But when the sash is restored and glossy black, and the surrounding trim painted green, and the water table trim above also painted green, this feature will POP, baby! POP!
Who knew limestone could be curvaceous?
YES! Oh so curvaceous! This is under the tower, and the stone leaps up to about six-feet-high! FABULOUS. And I adore the lattice of stone over the window. There’s another stone lattice around the sweep.
At the north porch the limestone is about three-feet-high on the left, about six-feet on the right, and it jumps WAY up to like eight-feet under the chimney. This is what I love about the architect, Charles Squires. He did not like things being static!
The north porch steps. Three words: drool drool drool. Oh hell, four: DROOL!
The columns on the main porch are mostly paired, and they sit on dramatic, tall, tapered, limestone bases. All this is a very Free Classic thing, and innovative in 1894. Thus, the Cross House is not just a Queen Anne-style house but is a Queen Anne Free Classic! Golly! Oh, and I love the chunk-o-solid-stone atop the base. Yummy. Note also the original wood lattice; I think I can restore this.
The main porch steps. More drooling.
The main porch steps have side walls and the north side has this damage. I do not know what has caused it and at some point this will have to be addressed. Otherwise all the stone looks in amazing condition.
The “big sweep” on the main porch. This image is truly a tale of two facades! The west facade is now mostly restored; the south facade is in scarily poor condition. My second grant application is to restore the south facade. Cross your fingers it gets approved! Anyway, the center stone base is not original and I look forward to removing it. I already have the railing for the sweep, and hope Doug will make, this year, the sweeping lattice under. Restoring the “sweep” of the big sweep is something I am intensely excited about. It is going to look I N C R E D I B L E.
On the south side of the main porch are two single stone bases which supported single columns. The bases were separated by a few feet, but this was filled in to create an outdoor cooker. This alteration will be reversed.
One of the more dramatic features of the house is this limestone wall holding up the porte-cochère. I am so in love with this. The wall is as straight and true as it was in 1894. Incredible.
I grew up in in a cheap-as-can-be 1950s ranch and this engendered in me a passionate appreciation for quality.
This is why, as I walk up/down the stone steps on the main porch I often think: I
love these steps!
This is why as I open/close the massive sliding doors I often think: I
love these doors!
This is why as I caress the eight gorgeous mantels or yet again kinda gasp at the beauty of the 42 stained-glass windows or gently drag my hand along the oak balustrade of the main stair I often think: I
love all this!
Experiencing the Cross House on a daily basis makes me feel blessed. I still, after three years, walk though the house and think: THIS is mine?
I just cannot believe it quite. And suspect I never will.