Historic Homes Feature: A Classic Bungalow With Modern Twists

The Bails House
502 E. Elizabeth St.


502 E Elizabeth St 1.jpg

502 E Elizabeth is a classic Craftsman bungalow with clean, elegant lines. Built in 1924 by W. E. Bails, it passed through several owners, many professors at Colorado A & M (later Colorado State University), until the Cross family purchased it in 1936. Albert and Elizabeth Cross began their family in Kelim, near Greeley. After Albert’s death in 1934, Elizabeth moved her family of four children to 502 E Elizabeth in Fort Collins. She lived in the house until she moved to a nursing facility in the late 1970s, and passed away in 1983.  Elizabeth Cross’ grandson, Doug Cross, first lived in the basement in 1980, then bought the house from the family in 1985. The bungalow has a low-pitched roof, front gables and a wide porch.

The original house was only five rooms – living room, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom.
 Drawing by Kathy Bischoff

Drawing by Kathy Bischoff

In 1948, the Cross’ finished the basement into a bright apartment with an outside entrance. The basement apartment has built-in cupboards, arched doorways, and a nook for a phone tucked into the wall. In 2001, Doug and Ann Cross did the first big remodeling project. They removed the interior down to the studs in the main room, replacing the walls, windows and trim. They also added a master bedroom and bathroom onto the rear of the house. They also added a second basement apartment for Ann’s mother, its own entrance. The original basement apartment is virtually unchanged, and is an Air B & B.   

This year, Doug and Ann remodeled the kitchen and refinished the upstairs floors. They installed sleek black cupboards and removed the plaster from the brick chimney in the kitchen. It revealed a hole for the flue, which they neatly filled with discarded bricks from old Fort Collins High School.  The new kitchen and refinished floors give the classic home a modern twist.

Author: Jodie Chamberlain