The Cross House

Zounds! A new Discovery! PART II.

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The other day I did a post about a new discovery. I love discoveries! Big or small! So, see the big gable? See the double pair of windows? The upper sashes are a single piece of glass, and I never gave these sashes a thought. Until…

 

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…I received this image by Roger Heineken, which is from the 1968-69 Beta Sigma Tau scrapbook. The fraternity occupied the Cross House in the late 1960s, and last Friday they had a reunion in the house! Note the windows? They are the big gable windows, and their upper sashes feature a square border, and not plain glass!

 

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I then looked to the original drawings of the great north wall, and…

 

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…the upper sashes, indeed, have square borders! Zounds! Still, the drawings are not fully reflective of what was actually built. For example, the paneled effect to each side the of the double window was not built, but was rather shingled. Still, the fraternity image shows the same upper sashes as shown in the 1894 drawing. Thus, it seems obvious that the sashes DID exist, but something clearly happened to them between the late 1960s and today. I assumed the windows were damaged and replaced. But…

 

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…no! The sashes are original, and reveal the tell-tale signs of having their muntins knocked out. I would have noticed this when the time came to restore the sashes, but it is a thrill having the 1960s image confirm what has been lost.

 

As I recreated the lost diamond windows on the west dormer, I will recreate the lost details on the north gable windows. I believe that such small details collectively help to make great old houses gorgeous old houses.

All old houses, over time, lose bits and pieces of their original beauty.

And some old houses lose so many bits that their beauty is almost entirely lost. For example…

 

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This house was featured on my favorite blog, Old House Dreams. The interior is a knock-out, but WTF happened to the exterior?????

 

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Well, JimH found an archival image of the house! ZOUNDS! Image.

 

Luckily, the Cross House has not suffered such egregious losses. But each architectural loss to the Cross House is something I am dedicated to reversing, for isn’t reversing the depredations of time weirdly satisfying?

 

 

10 Responses to Zounds! A new Discovery! PART II.

  1. A lot of Victorian houses were messed up in the 20s and 30s, often by the children of the original owners. The house next door to us was in the same family from it’s birth in 1898 until around 1986. It was your typical frame Queen Anne; wrap around porch, fish scale shingled gables, bay windows, etc. The builder died in the late 20s, his son promptly updated his dad’s outdated Victorian by removing all of the gingerbread and stuccoing over the clapboard. When his son inherited the house in the 60s, he added aluminum windows, soffits, and aluminum siding over the fishscale gables. The current owners replaced the fishscale and painted the house in appropriate colors, but the stucco can’t be removed without destroying the original siding underneath…

  2. Reversing the depredations of time is IMMENSELY wonderful, and thrilling! How I wish could find out what should be replaced on my home…but alas, no old pics, no old drawings……argh….

    • We are fortunate to have a couple of pics of our house from around 1902, can’t see small details but at least it is a guide. Sandra, I would bet that there are pictures out there of your house, too…in our case, I researched the history, names of previous owners, the courthouse and historical society, library, etc. Many towns printed “Hometown History” books in the early 1900s, basically a brag-book where the prominent citizens and their homes were pictured along with a brief history and list of accomplishments. I stumbled across a previously unknown picture of our house in one such book, it was in a section of miscellaneous photos.

      • HI Mike! Thanks for your comment – much appreciated. Man, I have tried & tried to find a pic of our house to absolutely no avail. But I will keep trying. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Ross, do you think the rectangle window in the servants stairs was a diamond window like the pantry windows? The two round windows in the servants stairs have plain glass, were they changed also?

    • Hum. Now you got me curious about about the plain rectangular window in the servant’s stair!

      The two round windows actually have colored glass. One has been restored, and is in situ. The other is in the basement; a plain sheet of glass covers the windows opening.

  4. Wow, those are some very well scrubbed boys for 1968-69. What did the reunion attendees have to say about the Cross House?

  5. Sad, very sad. With enough money they could try to restore it on the outside but the expense would be incredible! Well, there is no accounting for people’s taste or the tends of the times. However, there might have been extensive damage to the porches and such and so they took a different approach. Sadly, IMHO, it was the wrong approach. However, Ross, you are doing a wonderful job! So, there is a bright and sparkling side to restoration, and it’s good to look at the bright side of things! 🙂

  6. Looking at the before and after pictures of that house is enough to make to make a person weep! What the hell were they thinking! All that money to ruin a house. WTF is an unstatement!

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