The past can serve as a refuge from current troubles and as motivation to recapture your vigor. Reminiscing about the “glory days” can give you a smile and boost your confidence. Sharing positive experiences with others can help you revive old friendships and spark new conversations within current relationships. Remembering the good old days properly helps you to honor the past and cherish the future.
And that is the essence of this small Lucas County community of just under 600 residents. An oasis in the middle of farm country, both the Southside and Last Chance are places smile, share experiences, and spark conversation.
Nothing holds the promise and mystery and adventure like a train bound for somewhere.
Bring your children and/or the child within you to Russell to see the trains. You won’t have to wait long – 56 trains pass through town each day.
Old buildings like Arnold Bros. Seeds and Lumber Services, an old grain elevator, and old-fashioned windmills are but some of the photographic remnants of yesterday that are interspersed with new businesses that capture the charm of the past in their décor.
Be sure to save at least an hour for the Museum. It has photos of every graduating class including its last in 2008 when the school closed. Residents have recorded personal memories of life in Russell. There is a genealogy department. In the new addition there are specialized rooms dedicated to the past. It’s a whole building filled with memories.
The last real cowboy driven cattle drive from a Russell ranch to the Russell Sale Barn took place nearly ten years ago. Animals arrive in trucks now, but the atmosphere is still charged with energy. The family owned Russell Livestock Market is located on Hwy. 34 about three miles east of town. The stock pens are accessible to see all the animals and there is seating to watch the auction. There is even a place to get coffee and breakfast seated with the farmers. Check out www.russelllivestockmarket.com for the schedule of auctions
The original 1500 sq. ft. museum/library was built in 2003 and enlarged in 2010 with an additional 2100 sq. ft. Through the years so many artifacts have been donated to the museum that the addition to the building became necessary. When completed on the inside there will be separate little rooms depicting past history dating back to the early 1900’s, such as the Doctor’s office, old farm equipment, photos and trophies from the now closed Russell School and much more. Those with an interest in genealogy will enjoy reading the Oral Interviews done with local people who had much to tell about the history of Russell.
One side of the original building is where the library is located. Many hundreds of books have been donated and are available for check out.
There is no cost to come and visit this museum and take a walk through the past. The building hours are: Monday-Wednesday 1:00-5:00pm, Thursday 5:30-7:00pm and Friday 1:00-5:00pm. If you are a weekend visitor, please call ahead to make an appointment – 641-535-4253 or 641-535-4631.