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Charles W. Cross Home

Built c. 1891, the Charles W. Cross House is architecturally significant as one of about fourteen well preserved, documented, extant examples of houses in the Ogden area that reflect the influence of the Queen Anne Style in that area. Of those fourteen, three houses are high style examples, and three are Queen Anne cottages. Eight of the houses are two story examples whose plans and designs, like those of the Queen Anne cottages, were probably either drawn from or influenced by house pattern books. As one of those eight houses, the Cross House is one of the best preserved examples. In addition, it is also more clearly tied to pattern book sources than are the other houses, because its plan and elevation are almost identical to 467 17th Street, the house across the street.

This home was added to the National Historic Register (#84002434) July 12, 1984 and is located at 451 17th Street in Ogden, Utah

Charles W. Cross was born at London, England in 1861. He came to Utah sometime in 1880. Cross was a harness maker and established a shop in Ogden, Utah. He had a frame building on stiles built to serve as his shop. About ten years later, apparently to expand his business, Cross had a two-story building constructed and took on his brother, Alfred Cross, as a partner. His brother died several years later and Cross continued on with the business. Cross apparently acquired a large holding of Ogden area property. An obituary that appeared in the Deseret News states, “It is believed that he was the heaviest taxpayer for his years in the city [Ogden].” In addition to his harness and saddlery business Cross managed his real estate interests.

Cross married Annie Cave and they had five children. In 1900 Cross was elected as an Ogden City councilman and was re-elected in 1901. He served as the chairman of the committee on public buildings and grounds as well as on “several other important committees, where he rendered conspicuous service.” Cross was serving on the city council when he died , at the age of 44, on April 29, 1903 in the house on 17th Street.

In 1903, after Cross’s death, the harness and saddlery company was incorporated with his son, Charles Cross Jr., his mother, Avis Cross, and his sister listed as the owners. The business continued to operate under the name of the C.W. Cross Company and is now known as the Cross Western Store.

The Cross house is significant as an example of the type of houses that were built during Ogden’s early 1890s boom period which resulted in the building of numerous houses and the formation of many additions and subdivisions. Ogden newspapers indicated that in 1890 the area was experiencing a building boom and a proliferation of subdivisions and additions. On March 19, 1890 The Semi-Weekly Standard commented, “The question of house room is becoming too serious. Unless the builders get more force into the field, tents will be in demand.” Later, on July, 19, 1890 another article on the building situation was headlined, “The Building Boon Our Residence Supply Fearfully Inadequate-Demand For Houses Is Enormous.”

The growth of the city was attributed to the publicity that the city had been receiving. The publicity was probably of a promotional nature since local businessmen and eastern investors were interested in seeing the area grow. From interviews with real estate men in the city it was claimed that each company was receiving twenty calls per day and that if housing the were available it would be immediately rented or purchased.

One means of meeting the need for more housing was shipping in 11 ready-made” houses by train from St. Paul. These houses were substantial buildings. They cost from $600 to $5,000 and were two stories with four rooms on the first floor and two rooms on the second. The company putting up the buildings promised a foundation that was 18 inches deep, two coats of plaster, two coats of paint, outhouses in the rear, a board fence around the lot, and a picket fence in front of the house.

On June 25, 1890, the Semi-Weekly Standard announced, in a regular article, that the Riverside Park addition, the area where the C.W. Cross house was built, was open for sale by the Utah Loan and Trust Company. The N. Farr Land, Loan and Trust Company served as the agents for the addition. The advantage of the Riverside Park addition was its proximity to the center of town. Since such property was scarce the addition was felt to be valuable. However, it appears that only several houses were built in the addition at this time. The Cross House and the house across the street, 467 17th Street, are the only identified houses in the vicinity that date from this period. By 1892 C.W. Cross was living in the house. It is not known whether Cross had the house built or whether the house was built by the developers of the Riverside Park addition. The similarity of the Cross house with the one across the street, 467 17th Street, might indicate that the area was developed according to a plan and that the developers relied on house pattern book sources.

Built in 1890-91, the Charles W, Cross house is a two story example of the typical expression of the Queen Anne style in Utah. It is likely that the design for this house was derived from pattern books of the late nineteenth century. It is a brick house with an irregular plan, a stone foundation, and a pyramid roof off of which three gable roof cross-wings project. The house is oriented north, and the cross-wings are on the east, west and north sides. Each of the cross-wings terminates in a three part bay topped by a decorative gable. The main double door entrance is on the east half of the north façade. The porch over the entrance wraps around the northeast corner of the building, and is distinguished at the corner by a conical roof which caps a circular projection of the porch floor. A second smaller entrance opens off the porch into a panel of the east façade three part bay. Fluted columns support the porch roof, and there is a lathe-turned balustrade. There is a small second story screen porch over the main entrance which is topped by a small gable roof projection off the main roof. That porch is connected to the east panel of the north façade three part bay.

Double hung sash windows pierce each of the panels of the three part bays. There is a single double hung sash window per story on all panels of each window bay. The relieving arches of the first story windows are accented by decorative brickwork, compared with the simple arches of the second story windows. A band of stained glass lights frame the upper sash of each window the three part bays. The pediments of the gable section over each three part window bay are highlighted by fish-scale patterned shingles, a bargeboard into which a decorative pattern has been incised, and a small rectangular window with a simple pediment over it. Large decorative brackets intersect below the corners of each pediment. Decorative posts support the second story screen porch, and a unique spindle band spans the spaces between posts. A sunburst decorative element fills the pediment of the porch gable.

A one story brick kitchen wing is attached to the rear of the house. It is more elaborate than most extensions of this type, resembling a small Victorian cottage. It has a multi-hip roof which terminates in a gable projecting over a three part bay at the rear of the house. The use of diamond patterned shingles in the gable section reflects an attempt to visually tie the rear extension with the rest of the house. A back entrance opens off a small open porch which is attached to the east side of the three part bay. The windows of the kitchen wing are the double hung sash type. Some of them are Distinguished by rough cut red sandstone sills. The sills of the main section as well as those of the first section of the kitchen have smooth concrete sills. It is possible that the rear section of the kitchen wing was added some time after the construction of both the main body of the house and the first section of the kitchen wing. A slight difference between the color of the brick of the two story section and that of the kitchen wing suggest that the entire kitchen wing may not be original. If not original, however, the wing was probably built soon after the original construction, and complements the house in materials, style, decorative elements and massing. A one story gable roof extension was added to the west side of the kitchen extension. It has asbestos siding, and was probably added in the 1950s. Because of its scale and location it is an unobtrusive alteration which does not affect the original character of the building.

The organization of rooms on the interior of the house is typical of Victorian design. The plan is asymmetrically arranged with a hall on the east side, from which a staircase rises to the second floor. Behind the hall is a dining room. On the west side of the house are two parlors, one behind the other. Upstairs, two bedrooms are aligned one behind the other over the parlors, and there is a third bedroom over the dining room. There is no hall on the second story, except for the foyer where the stairs come up from the first floor. The rooms merely open one into the other. All of the original moldings are intact. They are grooved moldings with distinctive corner blocks typical of Victorian design. The moldings in the front parlor, which flanks the hall, are hand grained, and are accented with gold leaf. The fireplace in that room has an ornate oak mantel with a distinctive hearth of decorative tiles. The kitchen wing consists of three rooms built within the historic period, and three rooms that are in the asbestos sided wing. The three rooms in the brick section include an entry hall flanked by a small room behind which is a large kitchen. A second set of stairs rises from that room to an attic section which has been converted to several small bedrooms, and connects with the second story of the main section of the house. A bathroom, one long hall, and a single work room occupy the space of the asbestos sided addition.

This house is a fine example of Utah’s expression of the Queen Anne style. Typical of the Queen Anne style is the asymmetrical composition, and the variety of materials, texture, and color. Brick was used instead of wood, the common building material for examples of the style in other parts of the country, because it was probably the most readily available material. The brick, however, contrasts with the stone of the foundation and the wood of the gable sections and porches. An active visual image was created by topping the irregular form with a hip roof from which several gable sections project in various directions. The decorative brickwork over the windows and along the major chimney flue, in combination with the patterned shingles and bargeboards of the gable sections and the stained glass panels of the window sashes provide a variety of textures and patterns. Two colors have been combined on the gable sections and contrast with the red bricks. The conical roof on the porch, the multi-planed roof, the fish-scale shingles on the gable sections, the stained glass lights around the upper sashes of the windows, the bargeboards, and the wrap around porch are elements that are typical of the Queen Anne style.

It is likely that the basis for the plan and design of the Cross house probably originated in popular plan books. The Cross house was built at a time when there was a nation wide trend to own a home in the suburbs. Architectural pattern books provided the source of inspiration for the prospective suburb homeowner who desired a home that would meet personal needs, announce financial and social aspirations, and be a singular and personal expression of taste and preference.’ Because the Cross House is very similar to the house across the street, 462 17th Street, and the plan of the house is similar to other houses whose designs have been attributed to pattern book sources, it seems probable that the design of the Cross house is in part the product of a pattern book design.