619 NW. 3rd Street
The McInerney House
Built in 1877
This Gothic Revival style brick home is believed to have been built in 1877 by Benjamin Bussell, an Abilene merchant. The depth of the windows and doors on the west side suggest the original home consisted only of four rooms on two levels. Bussell and his wife, Emma, sold the home in 1881 to another pioneer family, the McInerneys.
Thomas C. McInerney was a bootmaker in Leavenworth, Kansas, when, in 1868, he decided to move his family to Texas Street in Abilene. There he opened a small shop to meet the needs of the cowboys driving cattle up the Chisholm Trail. The cattle trade boomed during the next five years and so did McInerney’s business. He soon built a factory and employed 20 bootmakers.
In 1908, the McInerneys made considerable improvements to their home, increasing the size of the dwelling and installing a heating plant and a gas fireplace on the west side. They also altered the Gothic style porch.
The McInerney’s son, William (Bill Mac), moved into the home at age three and later acquired it from his family. A dentist in Abilene for 56 years, he donated his dental equipment to the Kansas Historical Society upon his retirement in 1957.
A year after his death in 1963, the home was purchased by Charles S. and Doris McMichael who began remodeling in the early 1970’s. They added two sunporches, a bathroom, dustproof closet, a kitchen, pantry and utility area and a three-car garage.
Jeff and Ricki Elliott bought the home in 1979 and focused their first efforts on landscaping by adding an iron fence. Inside, they converted the gas fireplace back to wood.
Originally published in Historic Homes of Abilene, The Heritage Homes Association, written by Cecilia Harris, photos by Bob Paull, 1994.