Discussion to focus on future of Russell House

By Gregory A. Scibelli - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Fri., May. 20, 2011
The Russell House in Windsor is in dire need of repairs. A discussion panel will be held at the Windsor Historical Society May 31 at 7 p.m. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

The Windsor Historical Society is looking for help and support to preserve one of the few remaining historic homes in town.

Windsor is Connecticut’s first English settlement, and as such, has many historic landmarks the society is attempting to preserve.

On May 31 at 7 p.m., the historical society will present “Timely Topics at Windsor Historical Society: Windsor’s William Russell House – It’s Past, Present, and Future.”

The purpose of the program is to make residents aware of the value of the Russell House, which is owned by First Church in Windsor, the problems it is currently going through, and how residents can help preserve the landmark.

The May 31 discussion will talk about what should be done to fix the house. The cost of the program is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $4 for WHS and First Church in Windsor members.

One of the biggest problems with the house is that it no longer fits the church’s mission. The house once belonged to a minister, who also built the house. Another builder sought to move the church, but the historical society obtained a grant for $7,866 to work with an architect to keep the house at its current site in the Windsor Historic District.

The grant is funding a feasibility study to determine possible uses of the building and whether the house can stay at its current site or be moved somewhere close by.

Scheduled to speak at the event are: historian Bill Hosley, who will present the history of the building; Rick Huleatt, the minister of First Church; Windsor Town Planner Eric Barz; and Chris Watts, the head of the Windsor Historic District Commission.

Residents will have an opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions about how the building could be best used in town.

“That is one of the things the architect and engineer will be looking at,” said Christine Ermenc, executive director of the Windsor Historical Society.  “This will give us an idea of what we need to raise money for. But it will be up to the church and the Russell House Committee to decide what they want to do with the house.”

Ermenc said the church will gather information and see if the project can be done by the church.

“First Church also has other properties they own,” said Ermenc. “But the Historical Society will continue to support them and do public relations efforts and help them with grant applications. We feel very strongly that this house should be saved.”

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