1893 Queen Anne – Emporia, KS

Added to OHD on 8/29/13   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   39 Comments
SOLD / Archived Post
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526 Union St, Emporia, KS 66801

  • $115,000
  • 6 Bed
  • 5 Bath
  • 5324 Sq Ft
  • 0.28 Ac.
Once in a lifetime opportunity for a bed & breakfast, or business venture (business plan on file by current owner) or possibly your dream home. This registered historic house needs someone who can help restore the grandure within. Selling for less than County appraisal of $143,500. Current owner has more than that in remodeling but has moved and needs someone else with vision to complete the rest. Current owner has recently made significant updates to central air/heat, plumbing & electrical systems.Antiques can be purchased with house sale! Intrested buyers can contatct Casey Woods from Emporia's Main Street for possible funds at 620-340-6430. There are many possible funds available such as the Heritage Trust Fund, Jones Trust, and Historic Tax Credit. This historical property has an incredible history and is a local landmark in Emporia, KS! You will be absolutely amazed with the distinctly grandeur features throughout every inch of this stately home. Costly upgrades of central air, high efficiency heat, boilers, plumbing and over one mile of new electrical wiring have been installed. Unfortunately, passing time and lack of resources has uncontrollably lead to it decline. The current owner had reluctantly decided to part with his beloved passion in hopes someone will be inspired by it's beauty and potential. Many building materials will remain with the sale of this home to aid your restoration efforts. With love and dedication, this awesome majestic home can be returned to it's once glorious stature!
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39 Comments on 1893 Queen Anne – Emporia, KS

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  1. says: 459 comments

    Needs work, but what a great house this will be when restored. Very impressive woodwork, especially the carved parts.

  2. john c says: 27 comments

    Not far from Red Rocks, http://www.kshs.org/portal_william_allen_white, the home of William Allan White, one of the most honest and interesting figures of the Progressive Era, who kept writing well into the time of fascism and WWII. Anyone thinking about Emporia should read White’s autobiography, which demonstrates how bustling such towns were and how integrated they were into the national fabric and debates of the times. We so often remark about the decline of small towns and cities in the United States that we forget the heady pinnacles which they achieved. White, the “sage of Emporia” as he was known nationally, represents the best aspects of those times. And now I will get off my pet hobbyhorse and look again at these pictures. Thanks, Kelly.

  3. John Shiflet says: 5437 comments

    Who says a grand Queen Anne has to cost a king’s ransom? Here’s a mansion level home with most of the original features intact (I think there may have been fretwork pieces originally in the arched openings like in the Morey Mansion on the next blog page) for the price of a suburban starter home. Location might be an issue; Emporia is somewhat faded from my couple of visits there and seemed geographically remote (much like Fort Scott, KS) but what a wonderful example of late Queen Anne style. The marble clad bathroom is a nice period touch. Yes, you’d probably have to put more into it than the asking price but post restoration you’d have a jewel of a home. It’s rare to find one like this largely intact and not fully restored. This one would be worth going in and doing it right, in my opinion. Taxes seem reasonable for a house that post-restoration would easily be worth a half-million or more in most places.

  4. lara janelara jane says: 469 comments
    OHD Supporter

    There is too much here to mention but I love the potential! Beautiful!

  5. echo says: 111 comments

    This is a beautiful home. I see her in her glory days. 🙂

  6. Curiouser George says: 140 comments

    Despite all the obvious beauty and potential in this property, I still have to contrast it to the surrounding neighborhoods – Directly across the street is a liquor store and car wash. Up the street one block is a used car lot, and taking a Google drive around shows a mixed bag of what I’d consider mid-to-lower income homes, many with multiple mail boxes out front and very few showing signs of pride-of-ownership. One house nearby has an above-ground pool in the front yard, another parks his/her Harley out front. There’s a Spanish-speaking Pentecostal church around the corner, and another that’s a neighborhood evangelical parish. All in all it has to make one wonder how a home this substantial and elegant ended up where it is. Undoubtedly it could be restored to a grander glory, but in the end you’d be left sitting in a less than desirable location. If this was located across the major thoroughfare, then it would not be as bad, as those homes generally seem to be in better shape (based on my Google-maps driving). I believe that the worst enemy homes like this have isn’t a lack of people willing to renovate/restore them, but the fact that they’ve either been built in hard to reach areas or the surrounding neighborhoods have been allowed to decay and fail. Emporia as a city seems to have a lot going for it in my opinion, but I’d be very hesitant to pick this residence as a retirement project. The rather plain looking office-type building directly in front of this place is the Lyon Country Historical Archives (Google street view). I’d say this house would make a good host for that group.

    • says: 459 comments

      “Directly across the street is a liquor store and car wash.”

      You say that like it’s a bad thing:)

      It’s interesting that the street in front is completely paved with bricks. It’s in great shape, too, so maybe it’s not that old? Anyway, you’re right, it really is a mixed bag there.

  7. John Shiflet says: 5437 comments

    I agree the location is problematic based on your description. A similar New London, CT Queen Anne that is arguably even more ornate than this house recently had its price drop to $109k. Although that house begs to be priced higher it too is in a marginal location surrounded by dilapidated rentals. Doubtful any Emporia based historical organization could afford the restoration costs and the upkeep on a house this size unless a very deep pocketed and generous benefactor entered the picture. Most of these organizations in smaller towns/cities are chronically under-funded and staffed largely by volunteers. Still, this house on its own merits is quite impressive but doubtful anything can be done about the location. I could see another $250k going into this property to bring it back to fully restored status. Sometimes with careful landscaping, fencing, and other calculated measures, a bed & breakfast inn can operate successfully in this kind of environment.

  8. JSM says: 24 comments

    I like the house and I’m a realist too. But I’m glad physicians don’t apply the same factors that realtor/restorationists do: “Patient is worth saving; but his friends and family are just terrible.”

  9. john c says: 27 comments

    I suppose in one sense I agree with the neighborhood analysis. However, in a small town I I I I am not sure what the significance of immediate surroundings may be, but I suspect that it bulks larger here than in real life in any small town. Of course it would be nice, if boring, if one were in an area made up of people similarly bent on restoration of old homes, However, in a small town one simply doesn’t have that luxury. This house was the house of some prosperous family with a walk of a few blocks to the down town. As Curiorser remarked, across Union Street, fronting 6th Street, is the Historical Society Archive/ Research Center, 225 East 6th, and a block closer to the downtown is the museum, 118 East 6th. Three blocks or four blocks to the downtown proper, with two of those blocks housing institutions of interest, is not a bad walk. If one goes to such a town, of course, one would hope that Ms Genteel and Mr. PostPrandialBrandy or others might, after a time, pop in, but in these days (and given Kansas heat), they are much more likely to stop by after, say, going to the car wash, than following an evening constitutional walk. If Emporia is like most small towns, people of similar interests — here in restoring old homes and the like — will find each other even if a few blocks or a busy thoroughfare at first glance separate them. If nothing else, the local librarian and the local pharmacist will soon link people of presumed similar interests together, whether they wish to be linked or not.

  10. TimothyTimothy says: 141 comments

    This house could be quite the showplace! Looks like it needs lots of attention, but just imagine the end result !!! I really like it and can envision how it used to be many years ago.

  11. Curiouser George says: 140 comments

    To further illustrate the problem historic homes have with location I’m highlighting a George Barber designed residence located in Belleville, Kansas. Barber actually used this very home to advertise the design, and it appears to be in very good shape, and is/was being listed for only $100K! I found it on OldHouses.com (check the homes in Kansas), but maybe Kelly has shown it here too. It is being sold by owner, and is an absolute steal in my book, and I’d be very tempted to purchase it as a second home except that there’s no way to get there without driving – no trains, no buses, no nearby commercial airport! Even if I could find a live-in caretaker (friend or relative) that could pick me up, they’d still have to drive 50 – 100 miles to do so! And Belleville isn’t a place with no history or attraction. It’s a small-ish town and doesn’t have the advantages of Emporia, but there are several architecturally significant buildings including an active movie theatre. I’m sure it’d be a fine place to have a second residence, but I just can’t figure out how I’d get there from the west coast without committing to a long drive.

  12. John Shiflet says: 5437 comments

    After looking at the long list of previous owners the most amazing thing about this house is that it survived-especially during the times it was a fraternity house, hotel, and rental. The fact that so many of the original details remain is almost a miracle considering the different uses its had since 1894. I’m glad more recent owners have seen the potential in this remarkable house and hope the next owners will have the resources to take the restoration to completion. The more I learn about its location the less I’m concerned about it. In a perfect situation it would be restored into a bed & breakfast and its proximity to major thoroughfares would be an asset. Side note… to C. George: the Belleville, KS house is far more geographically remote than Emporia. On a map it appears the nearest larger town is Salina, KS and the Nebraska border is not far away due north. From having lived in St. Joseph, MO which is only about 20 miles away from the Nebraska border, winters in Belleville will not be that much different than in its northern neighbor. (fairly cold) However the Belleville house is a textbook Barber design with an intact interior to match. (I believe it was posted in the OHD blog some time ago) Kansas has some great Victorians especially in its eastern towns such as Hiawatha, Atchison, Leavenworth, Fort Scott. Most KS towns have surviving examples from the Victorian era and some are architecturally very sophisticated as this Emporia home demonstrates.

  13. Ross says: 2417 comments

    When the Cross House was built, the neighborhood was THE neighborhood. Only a few blocks from downtown, this was where the first generation of well-to-do Emporians lived.

    But, like all such first-generation neighborhoods, with the advent of the automobile, they quickly lost their cache (like Brush Park in Detroit, and Prairie Avenue in Chicago). Suddenly, being close to downtown was no longer desirable.

    By 1900 a decline in such neighborhoods was already in evidence; by 1910 the decline was vastly accelerated. Most of these grand homes were rooming houses by the 1920s. Later, many would be demolished.

    Kiddy-corner from the Cross House is another magnificent pile, the Plumb House.

    Directly across the street is a nondescript circa-1970 building, now housing the county archives. Not a bad neighbor.

    The other corner has a car wash. Not attractive, but mighty convenient for keeping one’s car spiffy.

    To the north are more gorgeous homes. Some are restored. Many have been converted to apartments and are on the shabby side.

    To the south the houses are nice but less grand. A block away is a park with a fine restored 19th-century grandstand which still, wow, offers performances.

    Today, the immediate area is not prime. Nor is it derelict. Somewhere in the middle.

    The Cross House is included in the downtown historic district, and the house is a registered National Historic House.

    Next door, to the south, is what has recently been discovered to be the original carriage house for the Cross House. This structure was originally against the alley. Around 1915, the lot it sat on was separated from the Cross property, a basement was built right in front of the carriage house, and the structure was moved onto the basement. The main level of the two-story structure was originally for horses. This was then rebuilt in the then fashionable Mission style, and with a surprisingly spacious living room. The upstairs is exceedingly charming and still feels like a carriage house. The exterior of the upper level mimics the detailing of the Cross House.

    Well, all very cool.

  14. Ross says: 2417 comments

    Well, I closed on the Cross House, and the adjacent Carriage house, today.

    Pray for me.

  15. John Shiflet says: 5437 comments

    Big congratulations, Ross. I always pray for the brave preservationists in the trenches trying to save our architectural heritage. If I ever win the big lottery jackpot, I’ll try to make a substantial donation right after I buy Kelly’s dream house as I’ve promised here several times. I believe you’ll do very well and create a lasting legacy of your own in Emporia. Lets us know how things go as you plan your way ahead. I know someday you’ll have a beautifully restored Queen Anne to share with the world. Don’t get discouraged; all successful restorations are a mixture of setbacks followed by accomplishments.

  16. Ross says: 2417 comments

    Thank John!

    My approach to restoration is a room-by-room method: get one room totally done, and then move onto another. This way, I actually get energized, not drained, as the project unfolds, and as the years pass. No matter the moments of being overwhelmed; all I need do is spend some time in a finished room (or two), with glass of wine in hand, some music playing, and wellness is restored.

    It will vastly help that I am not raising kids! Young families who take on an old house are true heroes. It will also help considerably that I am self-employed with a highly flexible schedule. And, I do not need to move into the house anytime soon, and will continue to live in my current house likely through this year. This, too, will help maintain sanity!

    With the Cross House, I will begin with certain ASAP projects (like finishing the relining of the built-in gutters) and then fully restore the library. My vast book collection is now in storage (it overtook my current house) and needs to be properly housed.

    Another early project will be to recreate the original VERY large stair opening between the first/second floors. This was shrunk by 2/3 in the 1920s to create two kitchens on the second floor when the house was converted to apartments in the 1920s. The original plans are extant, as are the 1920s conversion plans. Some of the original balustrade is in the basement. I will only need to recreate about six linier feet. All the carved newel posts are extant.

    It will be amazing to resurrect one of the glories of the house after almost a century.

    On the original drawings, the exterior columns are specified as redwood, as are the shingles on level two and three, and the original (long lost) roof shingles . One side porch actually retains its original shingles, and these alternate between straight edge rows and scalloped. Did the main roof have this detail, too?

    I will also be working on the incredible carriage house next door. This is in much better shape, and I hope to have it upgraded and rented by the fall.

    Soon, there will be a blog. And a bit later the first episode of a YouTube series.

  17. Dorothy says: 1 comments

    Congratulations Ross. I wish you well. I follow Emporia on-line, as I lived there from 1964 to 2010. For more than 20 years I lived at 715 Union & always admired the Cross House. Thank you for defending the neighborhood, giving a great assessment of what it really is. Best of luck in your endeavor. I look forward to trying to follow your work, your progress, and your success.

  18. LynnLynn says: 73 comments
    OHD Supporter

    I too congratulate you Ross! I fell in love with this house the first time I laid eyes on her. I’m crazy about turrets and yours has two!! I am so happy a fellow OHD reader bought her and I wish you the best of luck on your new project. When I first viewed the photos, I thought something was amiss about the staircase. So grand and such a small opening in the ceiling. It almost looks like you would hit your head on the ceiling while standing on the landing. I’m glad you will be taking it back to it’s original design. I am curious about one thing though. Is the open staircase to the basement original or was it opened later? It looks original and if so, then Mr. Cross was very forward thinking in his day.

  19. Ross says: 2417 comments

    Hi Lynn, the basement stair, under the main stair, was added in the 1940s during the motel era changes. In order to do the stair, a large structural wall in the basement was removed! Yikes! I have already removed the stair, and will be rebuilding the structural wall.

    Also now completed, is the recreation of the original expansive opening to the main stair. The difference is impressive.

  20. LynnLynn says: 73 comments
    OHD Supporter

    OMG! A structural wall in the basement? Good Lord. It’s a wonder the house is still standing. Wow! I can’t wait to see the pics of the stairwell. Keep us posted and let us all know when your YouTube will be uploaded. Thanks Ross

  21. Ross says: 2417 comments

    The movie Willard came out in 1971. I was 14, and saw it four times.

    It’s a movie about….rats. But the main story was not what drew me in.

    It was the house. A big, old, fabulous house, featured prominently. I felt intoxicated at all the scenes showing the house, and even though I understood that movies used sets, the house and the interiors seemed real.

    The house made a HUGE impression on my young self, and I should not be surprised that many many decades later I purchased a not too dissimilar house: the Cross House.

    I had long forgotten about this youthful imprint, but recently recalled it. And through the miracle that is the Internet, I found the so-called Willard house:


    In some sort of weird time/space continuum, my 14-year-old self is VERY pleased that my 57-year-old self purchased the Cross House.

    • Janet says: 1 comments

      I was just in Emporia for a few days and learned from a realtor that you were restoring the Cross House. It is beautiful, and I am so happy you are doing the restore. I fell in love with 817 Exchange while I was visiting. Considering buying it and restoring it to its grandeur as indicated here on this website. What do you think? Am I crazy? It needs tons of work, but right down the street from Red Rocks! That to me is a huge plus.

  22. TimothyTimothy says: 141 comments

    Ross, Ross, Ross! I had no idea that you had such great taste! What a fantastic home! I am just green with envy! These houses are irreplaceable!

    You will probably have days when you shake your head and wonder what in the H*ll you were thinking of when you bought this but as it comes together, well, I can just imagine your pride and joy. What beauty this home already has and such potential!

    I hope that you keep us posted and wish you the very best of luck! Tim

    • Ross says: 2417 comments

      Yes, I do occasionally have to wonder about my sanity.

      Hey, who am I kidding? Buying the place confirms: I am insane.

      Kidding aside, I am quite besotted with the place, and experience nothing but pleasure from the whole restoration process. Luckily, I am old enough (sigh), and experienced enough, to know what I have gotten myself into. It is funny, but I have this sense that I have been waiting my whole life for this house.

      • AudreyAudrey says: 100 comments

        Its the kind of house you wait your whole life for.

        Me, raising a young family, I may just have to live vicariously for a while through this site, and perhaps your blog (hint, hint, update here).

        Congrats on purchasing a truly magnificent house.

  23. RossRoss says: 2417 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    At long last my blog about the restoration of the Cross House is up!


    • John Shiflet says: 5437 comments

      Excellent Blog, Ross. Who knew you were into yachts, besides old houses? You’ll have to tell me your secret sometime about how you find time to do everything. I’m in year 25 of my originally planned 2 year old house restoration. For several years, I’ve been wondering if I will live long enough to see it completed…the outcome of that remains to be seen. In any case, I appreciate the work you’ve put into your blog-nice work!

      • RossRoss says: 2417 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
        Emporia, KS

        Thanks John!

        The idea for the blog (content and look) just popped into my head while driving one day.

        I hired a local Emporia company to create the blog, and maintain it. As Kelly warned me, the latter can be incredibly time consuming, and that scared me! Between my lighting business, and the Cross House, I have about zip extra time. Yachts? That was me in a life about twenty years ago. I am now quite land-locked!

    • RosewaterRosewater says: 7180 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1875 Italianate cottage
      Noblesville, IN

      Ross, was checking out John’s pix of your Cross house on his Flickr page, and checking back here, was excited to see your blog is now up and running! Look fwd. to checking in on your progress. You are a brave man; very brave 😉 Jeff

      John Shiflet on Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/11236515@N05/

  24. Kitra says: 2 comments

    Ross, I was in Emporia today for a work meeting. Had time afterwards for a quick tour of Red Rocks, then remembered reading about this house. I asked the Red Rocks tour guide if he knew where your house was, and he pointed me down the street. So, I drove by–it’s looking fabulous! Even though we’ve never met, I was going to stop and introduce myself (and gander a peek at the inside?) but it didn’t look like anyone was there at that time. Anyway, I’ll enjoy checking the progress again next time I’m in town! Great job!

    • RossRoss says: 2417 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Hi Kitra!

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I was there but briefly today. One of my guys was doing work in the basement all afternoon. All Labor Day weekend I was up four stories in the air (on the round tower scaffolding) scraping and painting (like a crazy person!).

      If you stop by again, and see a red mini-van, please say hello. I will be happy to give you the Grand Tour! Only 50 cents!!!

  25. Kitra says: 2 comments

    Will do! In the meantime, I’ll follow your blog. Love your musings, and the photos you’re adding. Thank you for sharing!


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