c. 1870 Queen Anne – Emporia, KS

SOLD / Archived From 2014
Added to OHD on 2/3/14 - Last OHD Update: 2/14/18 - 82 Comments
Address Withheld

Map: Street View











This a Fannie Mae HomePath property. Discover the charm of this Victorian style mansion. A wrap around porch enhances the quaint styling. With nearly 2400 square feet of living space, you'll find room to spare. Mature landscaping on a corner lot. Oversized double garage provides extra storage capacity.
Sold By
Charles Andrews, Farm & Home Properties      (620) 342-0022
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75 Comments on c. 1870 Queen Anne – Emporia, KS

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  1. RossRoss says: 2311 comments



    Saturday morning started out so calm.

    Then OHD upturned my day!

    Just as I was leaving for a day trip to Kansas City, MO, I received a New Comment email from OHD.

    Like a fool, I clicked on it.

    Damn. An incredible house in Emporia was just listed. Incredible. My heart raced. Lust welled up.

    Well, I thought, looking at the house was only a five minute detour from the day’s scheduled events. Just five minutes. It all seemed so reasonable.

    A block away from the house, my heart raced. Wow, what a beautiful neighborhood! Gorgeous houses! Huge old trees! A quintessential grand old American neighborhood, the kind you see in movies.

    So, even before seeing the house in person I was seized by a thought: Only $20K! I just HAVE to make an offer, STAT!

    I pulled up in front of the house, Kansas City now forgotten. My initial reaction was surprise. While my sense of scale is likely forever ruined by the titanic-scale of my soon-to-be-closed-on Cross House just blocks away, 901 Market is sorta kinda somewhat….petite. It looked so looming and massive in the images.

    I smiled.

    Another surprise was evidence that, about 20 years ago, care and money was lavished on the house and property. Even in the light dusting of snow, a beautiful garden was evident and with a water feature in the backyard. But, ominously, it was also evident that, after this burst of attention, nothing had been done/spent on the house.

    No matter. Love!!!! I was in love!!!!

    On the sidewalk, I walked around the corner lot. I stepped up to the porch and peered in the windows, many deliciously tall and low, almost to the porch deck. Love!!!! I had to rub at the glass, scouring away old grime, to peer in.

    Another surprise. Or two. The rooms are devoid of the expected fancy trim and details. The rooms are also small. No grand rooms, high ceilings, or spacious foyer. Huh? Was I actually looking inside the same house, or experiencing a Harry Potter-like magical distortion?

    Still, the rooms were charming. Cottage-like. And the rooms flowed into each other through double sets of French doors. So, while the rooms were not large, the sense of space was nonetheless expansive.

    And the floors! Each room featured a different pattern.

    Then arrived the first hint of a dagger into my heart.

    Was it just me, delirious from love/lust, or did the floors undulate?


    As noted, the immediate area is lovely. Fine homes, and most well cared for. The houses across the street (to the south and east) have been beautifully restored.

    The exterior of the house is exceedingly appealing.

    The house is not that large.

    The interior is charmingly quirky. Rich with odd, unexpected details. I believe that John Shiflet is correct (previous thread) in that the house began as a cottage and was later enlarged and the exterior gussied up.

    The top windows in the tower are revealed, above your head, in a second-floor bedroom. Way way cool.


    The stair is, ah, not interesting. Although the space it occupies is.

    The kitchen and bathrooms? Well…uhmm…ahhh…hey, did you note the lovely long windows?

    Now, brace yourselves. I have never seen a basement in worse condition. The walls are literally imploding; the concrete floors are heaved up. Thus, the main level oak floors dance wildly. It is like looking at a choppy sea, just wave after wave. I have never seen this type condition so bad.

    The house however seems stable, and many many many steel columns have been placed in the basement. Some people could live with a house on LSD; I could not.

    NOTE: there is what appears to be a huge round cistern in the basement. I cannot help but wonder if the unprecedented condition of the basement, and adjacent gigantic body of water, are related. The cistern appears to be capped off.

    Two solutions:
    1) The house could be raised in the air, the basement fully removed, a new basement created, the house lowered, and over a six month period the main level could be made, well, level. Cost? I am guessing like $50K. At least.
    2) Another option would transfer the weight of the house to new footings, and then everything made level. I met with a contractor who confirmed that this is not difficult, and estimated a cost of $15 to $20K.


    My fear (ain’t fear a bitch) is that somebody will buy the house because it is so cheap. The house is actually livable. This imagined dastardly buyer will not spend a dime on the house, it will continue to deteriorate, and eventually be condemned.

    Thus, my neurosis (ain’t neurosis a bitch) is that I must Fly To The Rescue.

    The saving grace of the house is the immediate neighborhood. There be value in such beauty. With the settling issue rectified, new electrical, plumbing, HAVC, and roof, and all cosmetic work done, a new kitchen and two new bathrooms, the house will catapult in value.

    Stay tuned for Act II…

  2. Doreen says: 190 comments

    Ross, you ROCK. Seriously. I was thinking the same thing. I would probably NOT lift it up and redo the basement, but instead, build an entirely NEW foundation just inside the old bad one. Lots of jacks and steel beams for stabilization. No exactly a DIY type of job (although I could, as I have the education, knowledge and experience and lots and lots of FRIENDS that do as well), but completely doable. I am surprised the locals in that nifty neighborhood have not deemed it necessary to find a way or means to rehab this place as so many local preservation groups do. This house is seriously awesome in every way. I hope that you do what your heart is telling you and save this grand little lady. I know I would if I could.

  3. Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 9369 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Thanks Ross, look forward to Act II. 🙂

    After looking at the street view (a spring/summer look at it, very pretty) and touring the neighborhood in the Google Van, it is a charming neighborhood. I certainly hope the next owner will repair it properly and not let it further decay until it falls into the basement. With my imaginary money, I’d go the route of lifting it up, totally giving it a new basement, if only for the useable space along with stabilizing it.

  4. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    Obviously, my plate is FULL FULL FULL with the Cross House and Carriage house.

    Still, being aware of a house like this, in so desperate a condition, is like hearing a thousand kittens, all in danger, and all crying: Ross! Save us! Saaaaaaaaaave us!!!!!!

    It is on occasions such as this that I wish I was not me.

    Anyway, Fannie Mae requires that the new owner occupy the house for a year as a primary residence. Obviously I would not do that. However, if I understand correctly, after one month on the market this requirement is waived.


    • lara jane says: 574 comments

      Ummm… meow? 😉

      I am, ever the idealist, on your side. Or rather, on the side of the devil/kittens on your shoulder, purring, “Doooo iiiiiiiit!!!!”

  5. Kenny says: 100 comments

    Please be extra careful and don’t let the lust get in the way of proper due diligence. Take a look at the county soils map to ascertain the nature of the soil (whether it is well drained or not). Disconnected downspouts and poorly drained soils are often the culprit in foundation problems such as this. Make sure you consult a local licensed structural engineer experienced in such matters.

    I have not really heard of a cistern being placed within the footprint of a house. They are usually “out back”. Obviously, any structural problem with the cistern could compromise the foundations depending on the size and location (they sometimes cave in). What is happening with other basements in the area? Serious foundation problems are generally quite expensive to remedy. As I am sure you are aware, all foundations require a stable bearing structure, and I have my doubts as to whether this house still has one.

    p.s. I like your writing style

  6. Sue S.Sue S. says: 304 comments

    Ross, just chiming in to say I like your writing style as well. I’d like to find another smartass (and I mean that in a most complimentary way!) old house purist/restorer to read now that Jane Powell has passed away.

    I’d be too much of a coward to take on this house, although I hope a braver soul does. Having been burned once, so to speak, I will never again buy a house with foundation problems or issues. It’s just not worth the stress to me.

  7. Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 9369 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    1888 Sanborn Map, it’s the house showing as 903.

    The 1893, 1899 maps shows it unchanged.

    In 1905, it has changed shape:

    1911 map, now shows as 901:

  8. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    Very cool Kelly! I love Sanborn maps!

    These would seem to support what John Shiflet surmised (previous thread). The house began as a cottage and was later enlarged and the exterior gussied up.

    In the 1905 and 1911 maps, the house seems different. I am betting this is more different surveyors than the house actually being different. The bump-out on the north side, showing on 1905, but not 1911, is actually extant.

    The 1888 map does show a different floor plate, and the garage is two-stories.

  9. Jim R. says: 68 comments

    Ross, enjoyed reading your Saturday adventure! Be careful, tho, if you buy this one too, you will be in serious danger of becoming the object of hero-worship on OHD. I hope you are prepared for the burden of leadership and internet fame; also be careful of the groupies! ;o)

  10. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4439 comments

    Nicely written, Ross. Thanks as well to Kelly for finding and showing the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps from the past. Whatever it started out as, it appears the house sort of grew organically into what it is today. I really like the little nooks and crannies and odd interior spaces visible here and there. Leveling up a house is not that difficult. First task is to locate the highest point on the foundation and then jack everything up to the same level. Since this out of level condition has been there for years, best to gradually bring things up to level slowly over weeks as sometimes the foundations sills become warped or bowed and if suddenly lifted back to level can cause boards to split or crack. Just think of this as a $50,000 house which you are getting for under $20,000 with the other $30k going towards leveling and rebuilding the foundation/basement walls. Once the house is level, the rest should be easy but it will still take some work to bring it back to it’s late Victorian era appearance. With proper colors, it should again be one of the neighborhood showplaces. Given that nearby houses appear to have been spruced up in recent years, it seems like a worthwhile investment. I’m looking forward to reading more about both houses in the days to come.

  11. Vicki F. says: 72 comments

    Hey, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m already a victim of the “hero worship”. Ross, you had me with the Cross House! What you’re doing is something I’ve always wanted to do and have never been able to; so I’m looking forward to living vicariously through this restoration(s). IMO the exterior of this house is as equally impressive as the Cross House, but isn’t it amazing how different the interiors are? This one is quirky where the other one seems very grand. The charm of the garden, the arbors and the picket fence gives this house a totally different “feel” with neither one being better than the other. I KNOW you’d be taking on an awful lot, but she really does deserve to be saved and hey, it’s gonna’ be your neighborhood, so its a win/win. And you should be fine from the looks of that huge gargoyle type figure on the roof to protect the procedure! Good luck.

  12. Sue S.Sue S. says: 304 comments

    I’ve gone into the Zillow listings in Emporia and it’s pretty amazing how many nice old houses there are. Oddly, though, a lot of them have been stricken with a serious plague of what I call “Wall Words Disease.” You’ll know what I mean — words painted or applied directly to the walls that say cutesy things like “Live, Love, Laugh” or “Family” or whatever the heck. That fad can’t die too quickly for me!

  13. MarionMarion says: 84 comments

    LOL.. 😉 … *blows kiss*

  14. Kris says: 50 comments

    I wish you the best with all your projects, Ross and that you’re able to stay within budget! 🙂 I’d go for the new basement if you can do it.

    I really enjoyed seeing how this house has expanded over the years. It’s a beautiful house and I agree, the street looks so pretty!

  15. Karen says: 121 comments

    I lived in a house in Minnesota that had a cistern in one corner of the basement. It was supposed to store rainwater that could then be used. It was about six by six by eight feet and empty. You could see into it with a flashlight by sticking your head between the basement beams. The house was built around 1910. It also had a well and pump in the backyard. The former owner said he wanted to put in a sauna there but never did. The cistern is probably not the problem. I suspect poorly sloping ground and ground water.

  16. Sharon M says: 53 comments

    Totally enjoyed reading the posts on this house. It really does deserve a second chance at becoming beautiful again. From what I’ve just read, it sounds like it is in a nicely restored neighborhood so hopefully you’ll be able to get some of those homeowners to help you with some of the work that lies ahead. Good luck with this labor of love. This project deserves a website of its own!

  17. NancyNancy says: 196 comments

    I’m also enjoying this so much! What a shame that so much for the woodwork is painted. I love all of the unexpected nooks and crannies in this house, the garden and the wonderful porch. What a beauty she must have been! I can just see all of those beautiful floors redone. If I had any money at all I would be in the same boat as you Ross. As it stands 1 1937 enlarged cottage is as much as I can handle. Go for it if you can.

  18. Teri says: 83 comments

    Lovely home and it looks bigger than the sq footage suggests. I too love all the nooks and crannies. Would not like to strip and paint the outside though..

  19. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    After 30 days, the residency requirement is waived on this Fannie Mae property.

    So, I called my broker and said that if the house was still for sale in 30 days (she was confident it would be. “Who but you would buy it?”), I wanted to make an offer.

    With my having such a soon-to-be full plate, work on the house would be necessarily slow, but every passing month would bring incremental improvement, and incremental improvement is much much better than incremental ruination.

    I am mad for the house.

  20. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    Kelly, it is even worse! THREE!

    The Cross House (close next week)

    The Carriage House (close next week)

    901 Market (if I buy it)

    The Cross House will be all-consuming for many years.

    The Carriage House is in relatively good condition. I anticipate having the work done in six months, then renting the house.

    901 is a LOT of work, but I will only have it as a low-level project for the first 18 months or so. A big plus? It is so close to the Cross properties, I can bicycle over! Me and my tool belt!

  21. johndrake says: 14 comments

    I am constantly astounded at how houses can be made to appear so large and imposing in real estate ads and then, in real life, they appear to have shrunken once I get there in person. Taking a photo from ground level is one technique; others include using certain photos lenses it seems. The other “scam” is making the house appear situated far from a road. I looked at a place in Stockbridge Mass that was about 10 feet from a busy road. The realtor had actually taken the photo from a great distance on the other side of the road, lying on the ground, so the road wasn’t visible the front “yard” look enormous.

    The first thing that surprised me about this house was the 2,900 square footage. The photos make it look like a lot bigger. The ceilings in some of the rooms are 9 feet (judging from the distance above the door frame). And the blue room with the upended mattress looks like a 10′ plus ceiling above that door. And there seems to be a lot of trim and nice details in the photos…

  22. Jim R. says: 68 comments

    Ross: I once looked at a house in St. Joseph, MO (John you might have also checked it out!)- anyway, it had a LARGE cistern in the basement…..pretty scary, as there was no kind of rail or footstop around it, just a looming cavern with a sheer drop in a dim basement….I would not have been surprised to find previous house owner’s unloved family members at the bottom, if you could SEE the bottom, which you couldn’t. It was like some Lovecraftian portal to a cthonic netherworld. I hope your cistern isn’t quite so scary as this one was…

  23. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    Hi Jim!

    The cistern of 901, if it even is a cistern, is just below the first floor floor joints. It has a top. So, it is this big round stone thing in the basement, basically filling a whole room.

    The basement is not a large open space. It is many rooms, all corresponding to the rooms above, and with stone inner and outer walls.

    The cistern is below the dining room.

    The front portion of the house (the foyer, stair, and front den) does not have a basement below, just a crawl space. These rooms, if I recall correctly, do not have settling issues.

    So, the house needs four rooms properly shored up, and the whole weight transferred to new footings/columns. This does not scare me. Well, maybe a little!

  24. Doreen says: 190 comments

    Or he’s certifiable! I’m in the same boat and it’s hilarious when I get one of my “brain farts” and can’t remember if the “thing” I’m searching for is in this basement or that basement! I am often heard muttering about errant tools that are ALWAYS at the “other” house!

  25. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4439 comments

    We too found foundation issues when we bought our tired 1889 cottage a century after its construction. The problem was two-fold: soft, probably fired on the premises mud bricks were used to construct piers under the house’s sills; the mortar used was very soft lime and sand mortar which deteriorates over time. So, here’s what the typical pier looked like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11236515@N05/1076981347/in/set-72157601360538293 I did some research and lucked out in salvaging about 5000 or so c. 1909 bricks from the foundation of a neighborhood house that had suffered a fire. These bricks matched the color and style of the original bricks yet were much harder. They too had been used for a foundation wall and since they still used soft lime mortar, they cleaned up easily. I determined Type “N” mortar mix (a lower strength modern mortar mix but still far stronger than lime mortar) worked well with these harder but old bricks and I rebuilt a number of failing piers under the house. After more than a decade, they remain solid as a rock. Here’s that same pier after rebuilding: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11236515@N05/1077841268/in/set-72157601360538293 If you have basic construction skills, you can do this. (but never start jacking a house for leveling unless you know what you are doing-your back isn’t strong enough to hold up a house) Of course, those lucky people with a large budget can sit back and let contractors do the work, but the rest of us have to hone our restoration skills as we go along. I’d be happy to share restoration information with anyone interested because I’m tired of seeing great old houses disappear from neglect.

  26. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    Wow, John. The restored pier is beautiful!!!!

  27. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4439 comments

    Thanks, Ross. Building a brick pier is not rocket science but it does have a learning curve. Keeping the brick courses level is always a challenge. My unscientific approach was to first make a “bed” of mortar then place and align the course of bricks followed by filling the spaces in-between with mortar. I always keep a spray water bottle handy and pre-soak the bricks in a 5 gallon bucket of water so they do not absorb the moisture in the mortar rapidly. The top course just under the sill is tricky but I use a narrow tuck-pointing trowel and work from the center outward. The finished work looks messy but a brass bristled brush can be used a few hours later (or overnight) to clean up the face of the bricks. One must also calculate the thickness of the bricks plus mortar to determine how many courses to construct. I’m sure a professional brick layer could build two piers in the time it took me to build one but making a long-lasting pier was the top concern. As I said, over a decade later no cracks or failure of any kind is visible. The bricks, if they are used rather than new must be clean-I spent many hours washing off the used bricks and scrubbing them with a wire brush, My total costs for this project was less than $100 but the labor component was substantial. Digging down until you reach either rock or “hardpan” can take hours. Most of the pier excavations went down 2-3 feet below the soil line. Pros would probably use a backhoe with an auger for this purpose.
    Here’s another project where I built the piers and had to go down almost 4 feet below the soil line and pour a base of concrete and rebar for extra seismic strength. (in Vallejo, California)
    (Can’t link…Flickr is displaying a “problem-we are working on it” error message)
    Metal straps were embedded in the mortar and attached to the porch frame with lag screws for seismic strength. The homeowner joked that the porch was so heavily reinforced that if an earthquake occurred the porch would hold up the c. 1860 landmark house. Restorers have to take a long term approach to every project unlike many remodeling people-don’t half-a$$ anything because you want your work to hold up another century or two.

  28. Amanda says: 10 comments

    Hey guys,
    So I have been a silent follower of this wonderful blog since my deployment last year. I have read your banter and have enjoyed it finding it both insightful and comical! A little about me, I hail from Manchester and Cornish NH. I am active duty military (have been for 15 years) stationed at (gulp) Nellis AFB(no cute houses central). I love old homes and while stationed in Germany Bought a 1700’s house and my husband and I did a partial renovation on (way cool). I have loved all things old and with a story since a young child. Enough about me I just wanted to add my thoughts. Ross if you want to buy that house and your heart is over taking your brain…then that is exactly what you should do. I hail the person who has the guts to go the extra mile for the common good. A old house is a page in a chapter of a states chapter….put all those chapters together and you have the unites states history book. One slow clap to anyone who helps protect our history. Go for it! Just so everyone knows I’m not a Ross Groupie just a OHD Hype Man.


  29. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    John, I have a deep regard, indeed, awe, for your dedication to such quality work.

  30. Sue S.Sue S. says: 304 comments

    Hero indeed. Superhero. It’s RESTORATION MAN!!!!

  31. Ernie says: 132 comments

    Great comments by all in regards to asesthetics and structural integrety. But in looking at the pictures I can see at least two chimneys but nary a sign of fireplace, radiator, floor or ceiling furnace register. How were they keep the place heated?

  32. Zoie says: 49 comments

    Hi Ross, this house reminds me of an Enchanted Fairy Cottage. Just lovely. I wish u good luck on your restoration endeavor. Zoie

  33. bfish says: 120 comments

    I’ve really enjoyed reading about Ross’s houses — congratulations and good luck (hope you get the one in this post). It’s wonderful how helpful and generous the folks on this site are. This is the best place to learn about old house architecture and now, lots of DIY expert advice. Everyone is so encouraging. I live in a town (Petersburg, VA) that is mostly comprised of old houses and other old buildings of all types, a time capsule, really. But other than a few neighbors who are truly committed to maintaining as many original features as possible, in my daily life I encounter very few old house lovers. It’s a shame that most people are lured by the new and plastic; nice community here to fill the void!

  34. Vicki says: 62 comments

    Buy it, Ross!
    Follow your heart….

  35. Graham says: 163 comments

    Go Ross Go!!

  36. Wish you the best luck on this house and all your other restorations! I love this house and would LOVE to see it saved!!! Please keep us all updated! I love seeing someone who has the desire I have to save all these old beauties – but has the time, knowledge and funds that I don’t!!!!! You’re amazing!!!!

    Also, Kelly – a random thank you to you for this website. I found it on accident one day on Facebook… and I have been addicted ever since. I’m a full time college student taking 17 credit hours this semester and browsing through your posts is how I unwind when I’m not studying. I’m a photographer and most of what I photograph is old houses/churches and so on. I live for your posts! Thank you!

  37. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    I am looking at the house again next week. Will try to get better images taken.

    I also close next week on the Cross and Carriage houses. So, a week-o-houses it will be!

  38. Cynthia S says: 2 comments

    I worked by Nellis for 5 years and taught history. I have always loved historic homes, having grown up in one that was over 100 years old. I always found it funny trying to explain to students… Not all homes are a varying shade of brown and covered in stucco. When I lived there we fixed up a house that was relatively old for the area 😉 1941

  39. Lucky says: 3 comments

    I fell in love with this house the instant I saw it.
    Just a few days ago….
    I have since dreamed of it.
    Revisited the pictures several times.
    Each time I have only fallen more deeply in love with it.
    It is truly a glorious house.
    I cannot fathom how anyone would have neglected her for so many years.
    She is waiting for the right person to rescue her with all of the tender and true love she deserves.
    If I had the funds to purchase her and take care of all the refurbishments that is needed to restore her I would do it an instant.
    I would devote what ever time is necessary to be hands on with the restoration.
    All you have to do,is look at her and know she is worth it.
    901 Market Street, Emporia, KS. This is the house of my dreams.

    I am going to take a drive over to see her in person.
    Beautiful beyond words inside and out.

  40. JK says: 3 comments


    I didn’t even know this property was for sale until about a week ago- I am the curator at the Historical Society, and this is my dream house. Charlotte Howe and her husband lived there in the early 1900s and she is my spirit animal.

    My wife and I are also considering buying this home and restoring it- after visiting it today, it doesn’t seem nearly as scary as it did just looking at it outside. I would love to talk with you more about it! After all, you’ve got the Cross House on your hands (I hope you know its history and the history of the Cross family)…I’d love to take this Howe House!

  41. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4439 comments

    It’s encouraging to see others expressing an interest in saving this house. (the Howe Family home?) If the Cross House and this one were both being restored, it would be very beneficial for the area. I hope there are many more “restorers-in-waiting” who visit the site and are willing to consider stepping in and saving some of these faded gems. It remains a fact that the number of historic homes in distress exceeds the number of folks looking for an old house to restore, so every prospective buyer posting is encouraging. It may sound like a cliché that they don’t build them like that anymore, but its true.

  42. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    Dear JK,

    How exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I would be THRILLED if you purchased the Howe house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My only rationale for taking it on was to save it from someone who might buy it only because the price is so low, and then not properly correct the many issues. The house (and neighborhood) deserve a better fate.

    I had planned to look at the house tomorrow or Wednesday with an engineer, to develop a plan to correct the significant settling issues.

    Then, I was planning to make an offer on March 1. I cannot do so now because of the residency requirement, which will be waived on March 1.

    Of course, I will only be too too too happy if you buy the house!


  43. JK says: 3 comments

    Phew. Our plan is to restore it to it’s original splendor, and then make it our home.

    This would be our first BIG renovation- I worked on a project in Manhattan in college (the house was much, much farther gone than Charlotte’s home), and have been building since my parents built our own homes growing up. My wife and I met building a cob house in Oregon, working with earthen plasters and honing our skills building a house on the side of a mountain. That being said, it seems like you would be a great resource/ally to have- you probably know much more about fixing/sturdying foundations than I.

    The Howe family is one of Emporia’s originals- upon Sarah Howe’s death in 1991, she gifted the family homestead at 315 E. Logan Ave. to the Historical Society, and that’s where I fell in love with Charlotte. She was a professor at KSTC and an all-around badass. I would be the proudest peacock in town if I could honor her home and make it be beautiful once again.


  44. RossRoss says: 2311 comments


    This is very exciting!

    And I will be happy to help in any way.

    Will you be making an offer before March 1?


  45. JK says: 3 comments

    We’re currently making sure all our ducks are in a row before we make an offer, and it may not be before March 1, but we’re going to do our damndest. We’ll be sure to keep in contact!

  46. KL says: 2 comments

    Okay I have been reading all of this.I would love to see pictures of all of this.Everything Ross is doing and JK ‘s adventures with the Howe house.I love history! I live in a very historic town In PA.We have beautiful houses.But I love to see it when people take them back to their glory.Can you post pictures for us???PLEASE??

  47. Shelly says: 99 comments

    Just heard that this property has sold for around 18000. Is any one here the proud owner of this property?

  48. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    Shelly, the Fannie Mae listing states: ACTIVE

    Zillow shows the house as FOR SALE

    My broker is in contact with listing agent, who stated the house was still for sale.

    • Kelly, Old House DreamsKelly, Old House Dreams says: 9369 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Crud, I marked it was sold, will go back to active. Although, Zillow has been known to be way late marking houses off market/sold, Trulia seems to be the fastest at that.

  49. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    Hi Kelly, the Fannie Mae listing states: ACTIVE

    I have no experience with Fannie Mae so have no idea how often their site is updated.

  50. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    This morning the Fannie Mae listing still states: ACTIVE

  51. Shelly says: 99 comments

    Sorry, I just heard from a source that had contact with the real estate bids that an offer was accepted. I guess I will wait in the future for the site to show it was under contract. I still hope OHD will get it. Good Luck!

  52. RossRoss says: 2311 comments

    Hi again Shelly,

    We have dueling sources!

    My source confirms that the property is still ACTIVE.

    The Fannie Mae site also still states ACTIVE.

    Zillow, too, shows ACTIVE.

    Interestingly, the house across the street has now been listed:


  53. ErinF says: 5 comments

    I live in Kansas City and I’ve only been to Emporia once… but I am fascinated to see how this turns out. I really hope one of you buys it!!

  54. Shelly says: 99 comments

    I called a realtor to find out and he said yes it was active. Then emailed back days later and said that the house had an accepted offer but fell through. Just hope someone buys it who wants to renovate this great house.

  55. Zoe says: 1 comments

    Does anyone have an information on who owned the house and the house history. I live about 3 blocks away from the house and I am so in love with it. I cant stop thinking about the history of it! I am going to the county hall tomorrow to see if I can find anything on it.


  56. ElaineElaine says: 140 comments

    OK, Johnny-Come-Lately here just found this one and read the whole thing, and was left hanging! WHO GOT THE HOUSE??? Ross? JK? Or did someone else slip in there and snatch it up? And if so, does anyone know how the house is faring now? (This was a VERY entertaining thread!)

    • RossRoss says: 2311 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      Hi Elaine,

      I did make an offer on the house. Which was accepted. And contracts were signed.

      However, just moments before the contracts were FedExed off, my bank called.

      Even though my offer was cash, my bank requested that that I not go ahead. They were worried that as they JUST financed the purchase of the huge Cross House (needing a ton of work) and the adjacent carriage house (needing a lot of work), they would really really really prefer that I not undertake yet another project needing a ton of work.

      This was a request rather than demand.

      Overnight, I pondered the request and knew one thing. Maintaining a good relationship with a bank was more important than owning another house.

      So, I walked away. Painfully, but I walked. The very next day I began work on the Cross House.

      Fannie Mae then accepted the second offer on the house. This mystery person has now owned the house for six months and nothing appears to have been done.

  57. ElaineElaine says: 140 comments

    Ross, what a heartbreaker! Your bank must have thought you were becoming a house hoarder or something! Maybe what this means is that the house will come on the market later for a CHEAPER price, when your bank will be happier with your choices!
    Isn’t it funny how certain of these houses will just grab you for dear life and not let go, while others, just not so much? And the funniest thing to me is how sometimes there will be one that you don’t care for at all on the outside, and almost don’t even look at, but then the inside of it just pulls your heart out, you want it so badly!

    I’m about past it as far as being able to do anything anymore! I’m looking for a retirement house that meets my criteria

    1. Cost–$2000 or so (like that one recently that was $1,777)!
    2. Doesn’t need work
    3. Looks like Rosedown
    4. I fall in love with it (which I will if it looks like Rosedown)
    5. 10 acres or so would be an added bonus (while I dream on)
    6. Preferably located in SC or GA (but I would forego that if all my other criteria are met)!
    7. High ceilings, envelope doors (like Grandma’s house) and a really nice landing on the staircase (important)!
    8. Oh, and this one should be higher on the list. NO HAUNTS!!!!

    And I’ll be patient. I know it might take a couple years to find this home! Adn it WOULD help if it had a cool street name like Cowpen Swamp Road!

  58. CoraLeeCoraLee says: 1803 comments

    How did i miss this? What a great post and comments, and for a house in my hometown.

    So, it has been over a year. Ross, please tell me the new owners are renovating this home? I’m scared to look at Google Earth.

    • RossRoss says: 2311 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS


      Be afraid. Be very afraid.


  59. LUCINDA HOWARD says: 14 comments

    I just recently read the posts from 10/06/15….so what happened to the house? Is it being restored? I had read all this last year and just went back to check.

    • RossRoss says: 2311 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS


      The house was purchased in the spring of 2014.

      The owner is only using the house for storage.

      The house is not being restored.

      Its current condition is deeply alarming, and I am shocked at how much worse it looks than it did last year.

      I no longer even drive by to look. It makes my heart ache, and tears well up in my eyes.

      • Martha says: 1 comments

        Ross, I hate to ask, but do you know what ultimately happened to this house.

        I have a love/hate relationship with you. I love, love, love what you do to restore, not only homes, but old things and I hate the fact that I just learned of your blog and an thoroughly addicted. I have always loved old building and like many others have always wanted to be able to save them from the wrecking ball. My hat is off to you. Keep up the good work for all of us our here that can’t.

  60. Dawn says: 1 comments

    Ross– are you from Emporia? Wondering if you are able if you’d look at this house with my husband and myself. I’m looking to take a job in Emporia .. and I love this house.. can it be saved? We will be in town Sept 9th and 10th 2017, if you’re available. Do you still renovate historic homes?

  61. RosewaterRosewater says: 4068 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1875 Italianate cottage
    Noblesville, IN

    Noticed a (fresh?) listing showing this one in foreclosure. Same pix. ???


    • Kelly, OHD adminKelly, OHD admin says: 9369 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Nope, still showing foreclosure date 2014.

      • RosewaterRosewater says: 4068 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1875 Italianate cottage
        Noblesville, IN

        Jeez. You’d think they’d just sell it at land value to avoid having to pay the demo costs if it’s gotten as bad as described above.

        • Alexander says: 1 comments
          Emporia, KS

          Everything I am seeing says that it is still for sale from 2014, are we sure that it sold then? Could it have actually been setting on the market, woefully neglected this long!?

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