When Swain arrived in Pullman, the town was bustling and optimistic about its future. The town was recovering from a devastating fire and in 1891, the state decided to build Washington's first land-grant college in Pullman, so there was a flurry of activity in Pullman when Swain arrived.
The home that Swain built for himself is located on Sunnyside Hill. It was built in the Craftsman style and was one of the first and largest of that style to be built in the neighborhood. Swain chose an excellent spot that overlooks much of the city that he helped to build. From his porch, Swain could see some of the downtown buildings that he designed. He lived in the home with his wife, Penelope, until her death in 1920.