THE CHURCH MUSEUM
The “church museum”, built in 1856, is the oldest surviving public building in the Township. This was the first church built by the Anglicans (Church of England) on the south side of the present St. Mary’s Anglican Cemetery on Second Avenue. With the construction of their brick church on Castor Street in 1885 – 87, this wooden building was unused until 1894, when it was purchased by the Baptists and moved to Castor Street. By 1978, the Baptist congregation was too small to continue and the building was sold and used by several owners, including as a shoe and harness repair shop. In 1989, the building was available and Keith Boyd proposed that the Township move it to Concession Street south of the bridge to the site where the McCaffery Wholesale building (a former church) had burned down where it would be used as a museum. This was done and on September 30, 1989, the restored building was opened as a museum. Unfortunately, the museum’s founder, Keith M. Boyd, passed away in October 1993. Many members of the community have been active in the Museum over the years, including Keith’s wife (Joyce) and his sister (Betty Hay); all of these volunteers – in many different ways - have contributed to the success and growth of the Museum throughout the years.
THE FIRE HALL
The “fire hall museum”, built in 1971 by Russell’s volunteer firemen, was occupied by them until 2005 when their new fire hall was opened further south on Concession. Prior to the present building on the site, there had been an earlier building built as a Methodist Church in 1867 and used until 1893, when it was taken over by the Independent Order of Foresters. The IOOF building was used by the community for meetings, dances, court sessions, etc. In 1953, this building was sold to be used as the village fire hall and was demolished in 1971 to allow construction of the present building. While the new fire hall was being constructed, the Historical Society identified the older building and the site as much needed growth space for the Museum. In June 2004, the Society presented a proposal to Township Council that the building be used as an extension of the small “church museum”; the official agreement was signed on 1 April 2005.
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