J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, January 02, 2017

The First Step in Preserving the Jason Russell House

The Massachusetts Historical Commission and the town of Arlington just granted the Arlington Historical Society a $15,000 grant to study what is necessary to preserve the Jason Russell House.

The society explains:
The Jason Russell House is listed both on the State Register of Historic Places and the National Register, and has both local and national significance as the site of the most intense fighting between retreating British soldiers and local civilians on April 19, 1775. It is currently interpreted as a historic house museum, owned and operated by the Arlington Historical Society. This captivating story is interpreted for the public through docent-led tours and a robust education program for area schools.

Not only does the Jason Russell House present the story of an important event in American history, but is also a tangible connection to the past. Successive owners did little to alter the original house. As a result, the house retains much of the original historic features, including musket ball holes from 1775.

The Society purchased the home in 1923, and has been able to maintain the home for intervening decades, however some urgent preservation needs have arisen and a considerable amount of restoration work is needed. This Study will become the core planning document, guiding and prioritizing projects, and ensuring that all conservation and rehabilitation projects are within standards for historic preservation.
More specifically, Russell built a two-room house in 1740, then added two more. “Decorative changes around the windows and front door and an ell were added in the 19th Century,” the house’s webpage says. The Russell family lived in the house until 1896, and many of its current furnishings come from them.

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