This house was built for John and Mary Kirby upon John's retirement from farming. John Kirby was born in Ireland in 1842 and came to America with his father when he was eight years old. They originally settled in Ohio; however, John later moved to Decatur, Illinois with another family when he was fourteen. After serving in the Civil War, John began farming in Piatt County. He married Mary E. Marquiss in 1873. John Kirby was very successful in farming, amassing nearly 1,500 acres of farmland before his death in 1919. The family generously established a trust fund for the current John and Mary E. Kirby Hospital.
The house features the Queen Ann/ Colonial Revival styles; two and a half story, clapboard siding with corner boards and frieze with dentils, and gable roof with slate shingles. The irregular massing was more evident before roof modifications were completed. The original hip roof was replaced by gables with stucco and vertical "half-timbering" with narrow eaves. The large wrap-around porch has paired and triple Doric columns atop stone pedestals. There are large window groupings with original lead and stained glass. There is a round two-story stair turret with conical roof on the north elevation. The back porch still has an ice door. Inside, there is a built-in oak sideboard in the dining room with four large oak pocket doors separating the dining room from the living room. The bathrooms and upstairs bedrooms have original marble sinks and the master bedroom still contains a mouthpiece for calls to the kitchen... an early intercom system!