Letters to ...

Russell Estate - Part 2

 ... SilverStringer Russ Priestley replies regarding the Russell Estate

Russ Priestley


I may be able to shed a little light on your query. My first name is Russell, but that may have come from a second cousin of my father. It may have been suggested by the proximity of the Russell Estate. At the time of my birth, 1922, our family moved to Melrose and beside our house was a stonewall indicating the southwest side of the Russell Estate. If you bring up the Melrose Mirror in another window
http://silverstringer.media.mit.edu and go to the left panel on the front page.

Scroll down until you come to the section title: Here Is Melrose. Click on that and you will get a map of the whole city created by John Averell. As it downloads you'll have to wait until the bottom. There is shown a dark area showing the woodlands of the Middlesex Fells State Reservation. I was brought up across the street from there ... on Washington Street between Crescent Ave and Clinton Road.

The Russell Estate covered the whole area from our house to Trenton and Russell Streets. In later years some of the property was sold and houses were built along Washington, Trenton and Russell Streets. In addition, Clinton Road was built later across the original estate. The legal battle over ownership was many years ago and I remember reading about a Dakota Dan who came to put in his claim. I'll try to do some research on that for you. I'll have to find when the Russell's abandoned the property or died off. When I was young, we were permitted to use the hill for skiing, sledding and frolicking in the snow. In other seasons we were known to borrow some of the fruit from the trees on the property. The last name I remember living there was a Mrs. Almy.

When houses were built on Clinton Rd., it was the end of the house and barn of the original estate. We played baseball at the bottom of the hill, close to the junction of Trenton and Washington. We skated in the swampy area just east of there. I think dodging the trees here helped when I played hockey in high school, college and beyond.

I don't know where I read about the family legal battle for owner rights but I will try to do some research for you.

Note: On July 30 I found the info which I was seeking. A copy from that book will be mailed to you.

Russ Priestley

August 1, 2003

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