Russell Historical Society and Kin Club announce roll call for Russell bricks

Courtesy photo

RUSSELL — The Russell Historical Society has partnered with the Kin Club of Russell to help locate Russell bricks for the construction of two “Welcome to Russell” signs. The bricks will be interspersed with other bricks for the foundation of the two signs, which will be built through sponsorships and donations from the community.

Donors can drop off their bricks at the Keith M. Boyd Museum in Russell on Sunday afternoons from 1-4 PM. “We wanted to preserve the history of the village of Russell in these new signs,” said project co-chair Ash Babber. “Partnering with the Russell Historical Society in this project only made sense.”

Russell bricks are synonymous with the village of Russell. Russell Historical Society’s president Harry Baker explains, “There were brick manufacturers in the Russell area using the local clay since 1864. For 100-years (1907 to 2007) more durable bricks were made using the red clay shale from the North Russell quarry.  In the early twentieth century, bricks made in the Village of Russell (embossed with the Russell name) were shipped to Ottawa, Montreal and New York City on the New York Central Railway.”

According to Wendall Stanley (From Swamp to Shanty, 1987) the Russell brick plant was a huge part of Russell’s history. “The Russell brick plant for its day it was one of the most modern plants of its kind and it attracted skilled workmen from all over England, Scotland and Ireland.  At its peak production the plant employed 125 men and produced 50,000 to 65,000 bricks a day.  Descendants of those families are still living in the Russell area today.” 

The Kin Club is also seeking local sponsors for the signs. “All individual, family and in memorium donations of $250 or more will have their names inscribed on a commemorative plaque by the Castor Street sign, and the same for corporate and service donors of over $1,000”, stated co-chair David Picard. 

The Kin Club estimates the two signs to cost over $81,000.00. Please see https://kinclubofrussell.ca/russell-sign/ for more information.

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