William Kirkman came to Boston from England, then after gold was found in California he moved west and began mining.
In time he began distributing mining supplies by running muletrains from San Francisco to Alaska.
Eventually he settled in Walla Walla were he made another fortune in cattle and sheep.
His mansion was constructed and completed in 1880-81. Kirkman died in 1893, but his wife, Isabella, kept the home in the family until 1919 when it was transerred to Whitman College and used for approximately the next ten years as dormitory for freshmen men. In 1929, it was sold to a private party who turned it into a apartment building.
In the mid-70's the Historical Architecture Development group took over and began renovating it as a project to stimulate other building owners to begin restoring, renovating, and otherwise preserving their buildings.
To see for yourself, visit the lovely and well-preserved city of Walla Walla, Washington.