This building originally known as the "Russian Mission Orphanage" was constructed out of native spruce in 1842 by Finnish carpenters. It is one of only four surviving examples of Russian Colonial Style architecture in the Western Hemisphere. Bishop Innocent or Father Ivan of the Russian Orthodox Church, a clergyman, teacher, scientist, and linguist occupied the residence until 1859. The Church ran the facility as a school, residence and place of worship for another century until the dilapidated condition forced its abandonment in 1972.
In 1973, the Park Service embarked on a 16–year restoration project returning the property to its former glory. Modern plumbing, heating, and electrical systems were installed, while at the same time keeping the structure as authentic as possible.