Monday, September 3, 2012

Lost Irvington--Cross Home

Charles and Laura Lott Cross moved to Irvington in 1891 and built this beautiful home on the southeast corner of East Washington Street and South Ritter Avenue.  Notice that the house sat on a large lot with a tall barn behind it.  Mr. Cross was into real estate and developed several streets and homes in Irvington.  He later sold this dwelling and moved the house so that it faced South Ritter Avenue.  The front of the lot was developed for commercial purposes including a corner building utilized as a bank (still standing in 2012).  This lovely home served as a fraternity for Butler University in the 1920s, but it was eventually torn down for parking.

Cross Family Home at 5507 East Washington St. before is was turned to face South Ritter Avenue.

In the 1920s the home faced South Ritter near Washington Street and was home to a Butler fraternity. It was eventually demolished. (Photo courtesy of Amy Friedly)

Mrs. Cross loved to write and she studied Shakespeare.  Sadly, several of the Cross children died young.  Two boys died of tuberculosis while one daughter died during the Great Flu Epidemic that swept the world in 1918 and 1919.  Another son, Harry, fought in World War One and took aerial photos from his plane.  He would survive the war and return to Indianapolis.

Laura Lott Cross was a writer and studied Shakespeare.  

Extended Cross family in 1917 at their Downey Avenue home:  Standing (left to right)--Harry Edgar Cross in his WWI uniform, Mary Wright Cross, Helen Cross Buddenbaum, Charles Mercer Cross; Seated: (left to right)  (possibly Mary Cross Wright's mother) Anna Lott (holding infant) Louis George Townsend, Jr. (infant), Laura Cross, and the Townsend brothers are on the ground--they would be raised by Mr. and Mrs. Cross after the death of their mother.

In the 1910s, Mr. Cross developed several homes along Ohmer Avenue.  He often had his son or other family members live in the houses while they were under construction to protect the expensive plumbing supplies inside from theft.  The Crosses eventually moved to 322 Downey Avenue.  (see Cross Family link)

These photographs and historical information are courtesy of Susan Morgan.


  1. The woman standing on the back left is not Jessie, but I believe may be Mary Wright Cross. The seated woman on left may be Mary's mother, not sure. The woman holding the infant is Anna Lott. The infant is Louis George Townsend, Sr. who was named after Louis G. Buddenbaum. Jessie died a few months after Louis was born.

  2. Thanks so much, Judy! I have made the changes you suggest.