Arlington Historical Society: Archaeological Excavation at Jason Russell House


August 24, 2021

The proposed geothermal project has been funded by Community Preservation Act funds and will help improve the climate inside the historic home with minimal invasion of the historic fabric and at minimal ongoing cost. The house is currently neither heated nor cooled, which will help protect the materials of the house itself as well as the items inside and also make it more comfortable for visitors in summer and winter. The geothermal project will require the digging of a three to four foot deep and 40 foot long trench running northeast from the northeast corner of the house to a 40 foot by 20 foot drilling area. Three to five wells will be installed in the drilling area at a depth of 250 to 300 feet. There will be no above-ground structures associated with the geothermal facility in accordance with the property preservation restrictions and the restrictions associated with its status as a building contributing to several historic areas of Arlington.

The grounds of Jason Russell House have been greatly disturbed over the years as the land around the farm has evolved into the residential and commercial area we now know as Arlington Center. Parts of the property were sold by the descendants so that by the end of the 19th century very little of the land we know today has survived. Several new houses were built around and in front of the house between 1884 and 1908. The Historical Society purchased the house in 1923 and purchased and removed four surrounding buildings in the 1960s to provide a more appropriate setting for the house at the time. and make it visible from the intersection of Jason Street and Massachusetts Avenue.

What we know about the Jason Russell House is constantly evolving based on ongoing expertise and analysis. In 2012, the Company hired a dendrochronology company to perform dating of the tree rings inside the house, which determined that the house had not been built in two stages from the late 1980s. 1600, as previously believed. The house was likely built in a single campaign in the 1740s using materials salvaged from an earlier 17th-century structure – likely a house he inherited from his grandparents. See for more information.

This press release was produced by the Arlington Historical Society. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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