This plaque commemorating the Great Russell Fire was added to the Historical Plaque Program in 2019, in partnership with the Russell and District Historical Society.

This plaque is located in front of the Keith M. Boyd Museum at 1150 Concession Street, Russell.Church Museum Building

History of the Church Museum Building

The Church Museum building built in 1856 was the first Anglican Church (Church of England), and today is the oldest surviving public building in the Township of Russell. The building was constructed on the south side of St. Mary's Anglican cemetery on Second Avenue.

Moving the Church Building

Map Showing Various Locations of the BuildingThe building went unused from 1887 until purchased by the Baptist Church in 1894. Once bought by the church, the building was moved to 66 Castor Street, as pictured below, with the help of many men and horses. In 1978, the Baptist Church closed its doors, as the congregation was too small. For a short time, the building was used by Lorne Wade as a shop for his shoe repair and harness crafting. The building then sat empty until 1988, when the Township of Russell purchased it for the Russell and District Historical Society.

The church was moved a second time, on Tuesday November 22, 1988, onto a new foundation at the corner of Concession and Church streets; this site held the former Methodist Church built in 1893, destroyed by fire in 1975.

To move the building, the church was lifted off its foundation, put on a trailer, and was carefully navigated through the narrow streets of Russell and across the Castor River bridge. All overhead wired needed to be moved to accommodate the tall building.

Church Museum BuildingChurch Museum Building

Church Museum Building






Church Museum Building     Church Museum Building     Church Museum Building

Over the next year, a large group of volunteers worked diligently to fix the interior and exterior of the building. The volunteers installed new insulation and vapour barrier; gyprock and partitions on the main floor; prepared the basement; added front steps; and painted the building inside and out.

Church Museum Building Church Museum Building Church Museum Building

Museum Opening

Opening Ceremony

In 1989, the restored building was officially opened as the Keith M. Boyd Museum to house artifacts collected by Keith Boyd, the first curator.

Architecture of the Church Museum

The Church Museum is a wooden frame construction with a simple gable roof, double hung pointed arch windows and a pointed arch door opening. Its architecture is typical of early pioneering communities in the mid-1800's with only basic elements of the Gothic revival style. It is a simple geometric form with minimal external detailing, horizontal shiplap siding, simple metal roof and heavy paneled double wooden frame doors.

Keith M. Boyd

Architecture of the Fire Hall Museum Building

The fire hall Museum building, located next the Church Museum building, is the second building forming the Keith M. Boyd Museum. Prior to this fire hall, a wooden frame Methodist church was on the site from 1867 to 1893. The Methodists then built a larger brick church next-door, and the Independent Order of Foresters (a fraternal organization) used the building for community meetings, dances, court sessions, and more until it sold in 1953 to serve as the village fire hall. The hall was then torn down in 1971, and a larger fire hall was built on the same site. Decades later, a new fire hall opened on South Russell Road in 2005, and the Russell and District Historical Society acquired the building for its larger artifacts once the Russell Fire Department moved to the new station.

Submit a Plaque Suggestion

If you know of a person, place, event or object that you think may be of historical significance to the Township of Russell, please let us know!


The plaque is intended for commemorative purposes and has no legal implications. It is not a designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.