William M. Mills, an oilman from Pennsylvania, drilled over 400 oil and gas wells in his lifetime. He drilled the Norman #1 well in Neodesha, Kansas which was the first successful commercial oil well west of the Mississippi and opened up the mid-continent oil field. His companies supplied gas to the towns of Osawatomie, Paola, and Spring Hill.
In 1902, he used profits from these ventures to build a magnificent home on First St. in Osawatomie. The Queen Anne style house was designed by the famous architect, George Barber, and cost $49,000 to build. It has:
- 7,000 square feet
- 9 fireplaces
- elaborate woodwork
- ornamental ceilings
During the mid-1900s, the house was converted into several apartments and was allowed to deteriorate. Fortunately, the home is now being restored to its original beauty by former State Senator Doug Walker and his family. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.