The Cross House

Wanna Time Travel? Part 1

Recently, I did a post about visitors to the Cross House: (L to R) Jim and Cindy, and Phyllis and Louis.


In the early 1970s, Phyllis and Louis lived in the Cross House, first in the Octagon Bedroom, and then later the entire third floor. Their landlord was Frank and Esther Toms.

During the last few days, Phyllis has been sending me images of their time as cool young things in the Cross House, and I will do several posts traveling back to the fabulous Hippie era.

So, fasten your macrame seat belt, smoke a little something, and let’s go, baby!


Phyllis and Louis could access the third floor via the dramatic (and scary) cast-iron staircase, which I removed in 2014.


The NW corner, 2018. The round tower is to the right.


The NW corner, 1970s.


The round tower, 2018.


The round tower, 1970s. Wow, man. I am gobsmacked. Black mylar wallpaper. A black ceiling (extant!). And wall-to-wall carpeting made from scraps. Sooooooo early 1970s.


Cool young things with their son, Nathan. Note the fabulous antique chair!


The SW corner, 2018. The hexagon tower is to the left.


The SW corner, 1970s. This image shows the partition that Phyllis and Louis created to create a semi-private bedroom in the hexagon tower corner. Love the 1920s sofa.


The NE corner, 2018.


The NE corner, 1970s. Louis had this set up as his art studio.


The east dormer, 2018.


The east dormer, 1970s. Louis has the two nudes portraits in storage. I asked for them back! And I would SO return them to this precise location!


The south window, 2018.


The south window, 1970s. This was a kitchen. The wallpaper is, of course, mylar.


A party from the past! Looking west.


I just love seeing these images! They make the third-floor come alive. History becomes part of the present.

I cannot wait for Part II!



36 Responses to Wanna Time Travel? Part 1

  1. So cool! These pics really do make the space come alive. Sort of like adding figures to a Christmas village. It brings back memories. To be that age again and have your whole life and dreams ahead of you. I would change a few things if I could go back.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures. I think a lot of us try to imagine how many people have passed through the doors of our old homes but seldom do we get to see just how it was. I hope someday I get a knock from someone that still has old pictures.

  3. This is among my favorite posts too! So cool to see the then and now. Love the macrame in the kitchen window. They made a very warm (and totally groovey) home at Cross House. Cross House has soul.

  4. I LOVE everything from this post and eagerly await the next chapter, but what I want to know is…the photo with the cast-iron staircase. Are those several different lights hanging on the circle portion of the front porch? Were they functional?

  5. Wow! That was really great! I want more! Wouldn’t it be great if you could get more pictures through the years of the Cross house for your book. I know you had said there weren’t to many from the beginning but there must be some. Ross we were only twelve and thirteen then. I’m feeling rather old all the sudden. What happened!

  6. Yes, history becomes part of the present!! Awesome post, more info. for your book! How sweet of them to come and share all this with you. Can’t wait for more.

  7. I knew so many apartments like this at the time…including my own! I even made a scrap rug like that one in an octogonal shape for my baby’s room in 1972. We collected beautiful old furniture that nobody else wanted. This post was amazing.

  8. What fun! I too LOVE all the plants in the round tower, and the funky wallpaper, and the lampshade. I could happily spend a lot of time in that space. Can’t wait for the next installment!

  9. Far out! What a blast from the past. Its awesome that Phyllis and Louis have shared this history with you. It sure brought back memories for me.

  10. Great pictures! I keep expecting to see Mary and Rhoda somewhere, LOL! I was recently visited by a lady who’s grandparents lived in my house from around 1966 up to the late 70s, and I have my fingers crossed that she comes up with some neat pictures from that era. When you think of all of the people who have come home at night to our houses, it reminds us that we are just the current residents.

  11. Very cool pictures. Louis and Phyllis, you brought back lots of memories from the 70s!!!! So glad that you have connected with Ross!!

    • Hi Lindy, Ross is so amazing. Don’t know why it took us so long to connect with him. Pat told us long ago we should meet him. We loved living in that house that we referred to as the Mouse Palace.

      Ross is a master craftsman. It’s so incredible that he landed in Emporia!

  12. Lovely post. It is like seeing ghostly reenactments of the Cross house history. I want the round tower too ..that third floor is an amazing space!

  13. These pictures are AMAZING!!!!!!! One of my favorites posts ever. They really are the coolest people in the world.

  14. I can’t picture a space that huge, just beautiful. And the clothes/hair/decor…. makes me think of what was in my closet! lol

  15. Very cool! I have to say that the round tower is my favorite. The soft carpeting and copious plants make it look like a great place to hang out (and maybe even pick the banjo shown there).

  16. So *groovy*! Thats amazing. Ross, i know you are considering renting out the top floor again in the future, hows this for some fan-friggin-tastic design inspiration?! The 1970s attic could live again…

  17. Thanks for the kick in the derrière , sister. You have always been good at that! You make me better, seriously.

    Don’t know why we waited so long to connect with him!

  18. Kicky and kooky!

    Damn, I had a hippie book from this era, w/ *precisely* this sort of style points! It looked as fabulous in its time, as your more faithful-to-the-past take will look in yours.

  19. That kitchen is every kitchen of my childhood, the macrame, stonewear the braided rug. My neighbors had that exact wall paper in their kitchen! It was the first time I ever saw shiny wallpaper. I HATED the decor my childhood. I can remember thinking that there had to be something wrong with adults my parents age. I was never more disgusted than when my mom got her orange, brown and avocado green tupperware! That round tower with the plants and the rug and the banjo with the pillows on the floor, totally shagedelic if you get my drift?

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