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Cross House front yard with surviving Mayes cross.
Cross House front yard with surviving Mayes cross.

Cross House of Harrison Mayes

Field review by the editors.

Middlesboro, Kentucky

In 1946 Henry Harrison Mayes moved his wife and seven kids from the coal camp of Pike Ridge (where his birth family is buried) to the nearby town of Middlesboro. Mayes was a miner, but also a self-described "ad man for God." For several decades he erected, across the USA, hundreds of sloganeering signs and concrete monuments ("Jesus Is Coming Soon," "If You Go To Hell It's Your Fault," etc.). Mayes believed that this would inspire passersby to save their souls.

Model of the Cross House as it appeared in the 1940s.
Model of the Cross House as it appeared in the 1940s.

Mayes built a ranch house in Middlesboro shaped like a Christian cross and painted "Jesus Saves" on its roof so it could be seen from passing airplanes. The Mayes family lived in the top end of the cross; the bottom end was a factory workshop where Mayes mass-produced his monuments and signs.

(A detailed model of the house, assembled by one of Mayes' sons, is displayed at the Museum of Appalachia.)

Mayes died in 1986 and the house was cleared of almost all of its relics, although people still live in it. The horizontal cross shape is difficult to see from the street, but one of Mayes' 1940s concrete crosses stills stands upright in the front yard, with the inscribed message, "Lost Forever Because I Forsakened The Cross Of Jesus Christ Sad Regret." Despite having only a fifth grade education, Harrison had excellent cross penmanship.

If you look downward (away from heaven) the word "Regeneration" is clearly inscribed in the sidewalk at the house entrance gate, part of another stock Mayes slogan, "Regeneration, Sanctification, Holy Ghost Baptism."

Also see: Prepare to Meet God Airport Sign

Cross House of Harrison Mayes

409 Chester Ave., Middlesboro, KY
From KY-74/Cumberland Ave. turn left at the stoplight onto 24th St. Drive one block. Turn left onto Chester Ave. The cross house is the second house on the right; look for the cross in the front yard. Private property; no trespassing.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Coal House, Coal MuseumCoal House, Coal Museum, Middlesboro, KY - < 1 mi.
Lincoln Museum on Rebel GroundLincoln Museum on Rebel Ground, Harrogate, TN - 4 mi.
Highway God Guy Family GraveHighway God Guy Family Grave, Fork Ridge, TN - 5 mi.
In the region:
Ciderville, Powell, TN - 45 mi.

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