Restoration continues at Robert Cross homestead


The Robert Cross home is in the process of being restored to its original beauty. The house was built in 1841. Roscoe Township purchased the 17 acres that included the Robt. Cross house and a Quonset hut in 2018.

It’s been three years since the Roscoe Township Historical Society began restoring the Robert Cross house back to its original glory.  The historic 173-year-old building needed lots of work both inside and outside.

Robert Cross, the first settler in Roscoe Township, built the house in 1841. It sits on a 17-acre site at 4562 Hononegah Road and Francis Street, which has become Founders Park. The Township purchased the property, in 2018, including the house. Roscoe Historical Society has partnered with the Township since then.

Roscoe Township trustee Phil Rhymer has taken on the role of overseeing the project as the general contractor. Rhymer is on the premises nearly every day.

The roof and chimney have been repaired. A copper cap will be added to the chimney. Siding has been removed and the brick underneath is being restored by masonry contractor Mike Harris, who specializes in restoration and preservation. Tuckpointing will be done in the spring.

Apex General Contractors and ABC Supply teamed to construct a new roof.

There are two parts to the building: the modern annex from the 1950s and the original brick house.

The original front doors, back door, staircase and stoop have been repaired. New windows, sidewalks and new stoop are now in place.

“The outside of the building will look the same as the original,” Rhymer said. “Restoration of the inside will come next.”

Rhymer said all utilities, including sewer, water and electric have been updated. The electrical meter has been moved outside. IBEW Local Union 364 has brought the electrical system up to code.

Most of the construction, labor and material costs of the restoration project have been donated through in-kind contributions. “No taxpayer money has or will be used for the restoration,” Rhymer said.

The annex will only be used by the Roscoe Township Historical Society. The original brick portion of the building will become a museum, showcasing historical pieces. The historical society is leasing the building from Roscoe Township.

Once restoration of the Cross House has been completed, work will begin on the pavilion and on the nearby Quonset hut that will become a garage and an implement museum.  The township hopes to go out for bids around December 7, 2023.

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