A familiar trend of the early Abilene days was for a local businessman to have interests in several aspects of the economy. One such pioneer Abilene merchant was John Edward Johntz. He, along with other noteable businessmen of the time, had an interest in the Rice, Johntz, Nicolay Lumber Company, the Johntz Bros., Gordon and Giles Elevators, and the Johntz, Rice, and Nicolay Milling Company. This milling company eventually became the Security Mills of Abilene. Johntz was also a founder of the Citizens Bank.
John E. and Hettie Johntz were married in 1870 and built their first home in that year on this site. By 1880, as the Johntz businesses prospered, plans were under way to remove the original building and replace it with this beautiful, stately home. With his interest in the lumber com[pany] only the finest materials were used in the construction and the walls of brick were made over one foot thick. The home was always open to friends and the Johntz hospitality played a major part in lifting the social life in Abilene. Johntz's sons built two more of Abilene's outstanding homes. Christian built the home on the northwest corner of this intersection and J. Edward built the home at 307 North Vine.