Archive for Wednesday, June 16, 2004

McLouth dentist finds dream office in century-old farmhouse

June 16, 2004

The century-old two-story brick farmhouse finally has a new life.

But it's no longer as a home. It's now the new McLouth dental office of Dr. Paul Heath.

From its hilltop site beside Kansas Highway 16, the view spans miles. It's a bucolic setting. In a sprawling American elm that shades the office's asphalt parking lot, a robin sings. Just beyond, where the blue skies seem endless on a clear springtime day, a hayfield catches an afternoon breeze. And near the building's foundation are the remnants of its past life -- rose bushes filled with pink blooms.

Clearly, this is not your typical dental office.

Heath, who has practiced dentistry in McLouth since 1988, said he's long been interested in the property -- even while working in a rented office in McLouth's downtown business district.

"The first time I drove to McLouth, I thought wow that is a neat old building," Heath said. "And then I just started hearing it was burned and nobody was doing anything with it."

Heath thought it would be a great place for an office, so he made an offer to buy it. And another. And another.

Finally, last fall, an agreement was reached, much to Heath's pleasure.

"It would have been a shame to have it torn down because it's one of the oldest buildings in town," Heath said.

Although he's not yet had time to research the property, Heath said he's heard the house was built between 1860 and 1890.

Because the house had been burned -- and interior walls were destroyed -- transforming the first floor into a dental office was all the easier.

Construction workers and Heath created three dental operatories and two hygiene rooms, as well as a lab, an office, restroom and reception area on the first floor.

On the second floor, they created spaces for Heath's own office, a break room, kitchen and rest room.

The overall look of the entire building is light and airy, with windows in every room.

"Where we were before downtown, there wasn't much light," Heath said of the office they moved into at the end of April. "We've got a lot of light here. It makes it real nice."

While Heath said he thinks his McLouth patients already know about his move, some of his patients from out of town might not. He draws dental patients from as far as Topeka and Lawrence.

To help them find his new office, which is located at 609 E. Lake, Heath plans to put up a sign.

In the meantime it's business as usual in his new abode.

"I was just glad that I got it and was able to fix it up," Heath said. "It makes a real nice dental office."

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