Preservation Grant Activity at the Jason Russell House

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A new sign out on the corner of Mass. Ave. and Jason Street notes that a preservation study is underway at the Jason Russell House.

The Arlington Historical Society was recently awarded a $15,000 grant to conduct a Preservation Study of the Jason Russell House. The grant, from Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, is a 50% matching reimbursement program for properties listed in the State Register of Historic Places. The Preservation Study is needed to document existing conditions and to determine the plan and requirements for continued preservation and immediate stabilization. Matching funds were provided by the Town of Arlington Community Preservation Act.

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.

The oldest extant photo of the Jason Russell House, circa 1870 to 1880.

The oldest extant photo of the Jason Russell House, circa 1870 to 1880.

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.

The Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund, established in 1984, supports the preservation of properties, landscapes, and cultural resources in the Commonwealth. Historic cultural resources frequently suffer from deferred maintenance, incompatible use, or are threatened by demolition. By providing assistance to historic cultural resources owned by nonprofit or municipal entities, the Massachusetts Historical Commission ensures their continued use and integrity.

Top: The circa 1868 Alvin Robbins mansion in 1909. Bottom: In 1912 the home was cut in half to make way for the new town hall and gardens, and moved to the corner of Russell and Prescott streets, where it was expanded. Today, it’s a distinctive condominium building in the Russell Historic District. Our November program.

Top: The circa 1868 Alvin Robbins mansion in 1909. Bottom: In 1912 the home was cut in half to make way for the new town hall and gardens, and moved to the corner of Russell and Prescott streets, where it was expanded. Today, it’s a distinctive condominium building in the Russell Historic District.

2016-2017 Lecture Series “Greening of History”

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Membership

Membership in the Society includes: Free admission to the Jason Russell House, Smith Museum, and the Historical Lecture Series; a discount on items purchased at The Museum Shop; a subscription to our newsletter “Menotomy Minutes”. For information on joining the Arlington Historical Society, see our Membership Page.

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Arlington Historical Society | 7 Jason Street, Arlington, MA 02476 | Contact us