Photos from yesteryear: A Tale of Two Houses
Dr. George E. Irwin, came from Kentucky and settled in Brown County, Kansas northeast of present day Fairview, in the 1850s. He treated people in the area, as well as people as far away as Marysville. He married Mrs. Sarah (Small) Ross, a recent widow, in 1859. He also served in the Kansas State legislature representing District 12 in 1863, 1864 and 1869. He was a noted Kansas historian, author of Medical miscellany and a member and presenter to the Northern Kansas Medical Society (organized in 1859). In 1874, they purchased a home in Sabetha which was located on the southeast corner of 12th and Main Streets, still keeping their farmland. It is believed by this researcher that the original home was torn down and the Irwins built a new, much larger home in its place. The city block contains 12 lots, 6 lots on the Main Street side of the block and 6 lots on the Virginia Street side. They owned the three western lots on the Main Street side. In 1881, they purchased the three western lots on the Virginia street side, now owning one half of the city block. For many years the Irwin house was the only home on this city block. In the late 1800s, Old Dr. Irwin, called “old” to distinguish him from his nephew Dr. George C. Irwin of Sabetha, befriended the owner of the McCafferty Circus. This circus made yearly performances in Sabetha, and struck up a deal with Old Dr. Irwin to winter the circus in Sabetha, when Irwin and wife wintered in Florida. McCafferty stayed in the Irwin house, the animals of the circus were boarded on Irwin’s farm near Fairview, while the circus performers and their families camped on the empty lots around the Irwin home. The circus children attended school in Sabetha during the winter months. This all continued until Old Dr. Irwin died in 1893 while in Florida. His body was returned to Sabetha and buried in the Sabetha cemetery. The Irwins had three children, Nellie (1861-1948), Laura (1864-1941) who married George Hook, and Prevost (1869-1927) who married Myrtle (Geiger) Lukert. At one point in history, U.S. Highways 75 and 36 traveled down Main Street. Highway 36, known as the Pikes Peak Highway, turned to go south at 12th and Main on down to Oregon where it turned to go west out of town towards Oneida. Highway 75 turned to go north at 14th and Main heading north out of town to Honey Creek and on up to Dawson, Nebraska. In 1923, George and Laura Hook who were living in the house made a controversial decision. They had the house sawn into two houses. The eastern part of the house was left where it was sitting while the western part was removed and turned to the south, leaving the corner lot empty. The part of the house that was turned to the south is what many will remember as the home of Gerald and Dorothy Summers. This house still stands today. The eastern part will be remembered as the George Hook house which was torn down in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The empty lot on the corner is where Sabetha Family Practice stands today, but was once where the Standard Oil Gas station stood for many years. The Standard Station was built in 1923.