418 NW. 5th Street
The Brewer House
Built in 1885
This Queen Anne house with an emphasized bay front wing has been nicknamed “The Showboat” by local residents who see similarities between the home’s design and a riverboat. The house was built in 1886 by Thomas C. and Antoinette Sewell, who owned a book stationery and music store.
Jacob Elmer Brewer purchased the home in 1898 and was married two years later. Brewer, who came to Abilene in 1881, started out as an errand boy in a grocery store and worked his way up to become one of the city’s leading merchants. He operated a dry goods mercantile and shipped produce to other parts of the state.
Active in the Republican party, Brewer served as a state senator from the Dickinson-Clay district from 1905-1909 and was appointed by the governor to become the assistant state business manager. He served as a member of the Board of Education and also was a director of the Abilene National Bank.
The home features hand carved front doors and a foyer with a parquet floor. The living room has three tall, thin windows that reach to the floor. The dining room has a bay window and a back door containing beveled glass. Glass-paned French doors in the dining room lead to an office that also can be entered from the hallway.
The second level boasts three bedrooms and a laundry room. Present owners Kevin and Gina Dalton believe this level contained either a walk-in window or a door to the widow’s walk that once contained an iron railing.
The front stairway features a shelf along the wall between the second and third floors. The bedroom on the top floor is an original, but the storage attic has been remodeled into a sitting room and bathroom.
Originally published in Historic Homes of Abilene, The Heritage Homes Association, written by Cecilia Harris, photos by Bob Paull, 1994.