Imagine yourself, two hundred and fifty years ago standing in the bustling farmyard of Jason Russell of Menotomy. Beyond the stone wall, an occasional wagon loaded with produce or lumber would have rumbled down the rutted dirt road that connected the outlying farming villages of Lexington and Concord to Boston.
Across the way was Stephen Cutter’s sawmill, one of several mills operating at the time along Mill Brook. Jason Russell’s 40-acre farm of pasture and apple orchard extended all the way to what is now the Unitarian Church on the corner of Pleasant Street.
In 1740, when Jason Russell built this house for himself and his 19-year old bride, Elizabeth Winship, it had but two rooms, one above the other, with the chimney and staircase on the north (or right-hand) side. He constructed the house of solid oak timbers from trees that grew on his property.
After five or ten years, Jason doubled the size of his home by adding two rooms to the right of the chimney to accommodate his growing family. With this addition, he turned his house into a traditional New England farmhouse: five windows across the front – the door in the center aligning with the large brick chimney. His home was typical of the many small houses that dotted the landscape of Arlington over two hundred years ago.