Former Home in Middlesboro, KY
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The House of Many Crosses

Mayes former home built in shape of a cross and initially with the message “Jesus Saves” painted on the roof.

It’s a private home, so please be respectful.

I tried to make this house mean everything. I’ve got eight rooms in this place.
That represents the eight people that was saved in the Ark. This house is shaped like a cross.
The front end’s got twelve windows and represents the twelve apostles. The back part has ten
windows for the Ten Commandments.
I built this place out of concrete because I don’t want it to never leave here. I don’t never
want it sold. I want it to finally wind up with the Salvation Army, using it as a place of their

Henry Harrison Mayes, Foxfire 9, 1986, pp. 448-449

“The House of Many Crosses” exhibit was created and crafted to give honor to the homeplace and lives of the late Harrison and Lillie Mayes. They built their small 4-room house on Chester Avenue in Middlesboro, Kentucky in 1946. In later years the house began to expand .

The home was made of handmade blocks. Harrison used a portable block machine. Each block of the front section had a small cross 1/4″ indentation. A small cross was bolted inside the portable block machine to get the 6″ cross effect.

Throughout the home and around the yard, Biblical symbolisms dominated the old “homeplace.” The house model depicts these Biblical symbolisms.

Twelve windows in the front section represents the 12 disciples. Ten windows of the back section – represents the Ten Commandments. Eight outside doors of the whole house represents the 8 people who were saved in Noah’s Ark.

Two main front doors had unusual door knockers. Both doors had a 2-piece wooden heart that opened with a spring-loaded hinge. Written on the outside of the wooden heart were these words: “Notice – Open to God your heart and say” –when the heart opened the inside words were, “Jesus save me.” Then the doorknob could be reached to open the door.

A door on the back side of the right front section was never to be used. It never had a doorknob, landing or steps to the outside. This door represented that we give our heart to God and land safely with Jesus.

Without being secure in Jesus, we step out into eternity without hope.

Three porches were concrete and heart-shaped. On each porch was one of these three words: “Regeneration”, “Sanctification”, and “Holy Ghost Baptism.”

A wooden anchor created a walkway leading up to the two heart-shaped front porches. The words on the gate read: “Anchor your heart to the cross.” Later, the wooden anchor was replaced by concrete walkway.

The new gate displayed the ten commandments.

A concrete heart (200 lb.) was located at the left side of the front section. On the outside of the heart read: “Open after my death.” There was a message written on the inside of the other part of the double heart.

The message was placed there April 20,1954.

The metal roof had an aerial view message that read: “Get Right With God.” Later, Harrison painted larger letters that read: “Jesus Saves.”

A wooden sign hung above the double windows in the front section that read: “Air Castle.”

A wooden sign that hung below that sign read: “Middlesboro, Ky.”

Above the double windows the words, “Jesus Saves” were indented in the concrete header.

Three chimneys represented Jesus and the two thieves at the crucifixion.

Concrete fence posts represents the 7 continents. The 8 metal posts and 1 wooden post represents the 9 planets. The wooden post was referred to as the Judas post.

Seven strands of barbed wire represents the 7 times Jesus spoke from the Cross during the Crucifixion. The barbwire represented the Crown of Thorns.” Seven metal crosses along the right side of the fence row stands for the Biblical references that refer to the 7 times Jesus spoke from the Cross.

The two large concrete crosses that remains standing in the front yard of the old homeplace were poured standing and hand carved. The letters inscribed on these crosses read: “Thanks to God forever for landing me safely through the cross of Jesus Christ,” and the other cross reads: “Lost forever because I forsakened the cross of Jesus Christ.”

The row of hearts and crosses in the backyard were poured standing.

Each weighed 1400 lb. These hearts and crosses have been relocated to different places. Each concrete sign had this inscription: “To be erected in the 1990’s.” Twenty-eight hearts and crosses filled this backyard row of signs.

Mayes, Cathrine, “A Coal Miner’s Simple Message”, 1999, pp. 101-102

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