RUSSELL – It may be two months away, but planning is proceeding for the Russell & District Historical Society’s annual Heritage Day Sept. 21 at the Keith Boyd Community Museum complex.
Not only will the event mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of the society and the museum in a relocated Baptist church and adjoining former fire hall, but it will also be used to unveil a series of colourful plaques recognizing important village landmarks. Jointly funded by the Township of Russell, the bilingual signs are being designed and manufactured through John Jackson of Things Made based in South Russell.
An official plaque unveiling is set for 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 21. Among landmarks recognized will be the Great Fire of 1915, the early milling industry along the Castor River launched by the Carscadden family which remains involved in Russell business, the church museum which, erected in 1856, is the oldest public building in the township, and St. Paul’s and St. Andrew’s United Cemetery where the fist burial occurred in 1851.
All 16 x 24 bronze plaques will be mounted on pedestals set close to the locations in question. For example, the Great Fire plaque will be placed beside the old Russell Registry, the only village core building to survive the devastating blaze eventually extinguished with the help of a steam powered, horse drawn fire engine brought in from Ottawa via the New York Central Railway.
Another Heritage Day highlight will be cutting of an anniversary cake at noon. Historical Society president Harry Baker has been rounding up as many members of the founding board of directors that he can locate, or family representatives. The instigator of the project was the late Keith Boyd who had personally accumulated hundreds of Russell artifacts, enough to stock the new museum.
Also part of the Heritage Day program is horse-drawn wagon rides through the village, children’s activities, an heirloom preservation workshop and a presentation on the planned Russell Heritage Conservation District.