Welcome to the Thomas H. Russell House

One can only imagine the lifestyle of the couple who built this lavish Victorian home in 1882 on the city’s now-historic Fourth Street. Thomas H. Russell was one of seven brothers who founded Massillon’s largest employer of the era, Russell & Co., a manufacturer of farm machinery and steam engines.

If these walls could talk…,” said Bob Yund, surveying the spacious foyer of his elegant period home. “When you think about it, Thomas and Eleanor Russell were big movers and shakers in Massillon at the time.”

One can only imagine the lifestyle of the couple who built this lavish Victorian home in 1882 on the city’s now-historic Fourth Street. Thomas H. Russell was one of seven brothers who founded Massillon’s largest employer of the era, Russell & Co., a manufacturer of farm machinery and steam engines.

“It was always a pipe dream of mine to own a historic home,” said Yund, an avid collector of antiques. “And then this one came along.”

In 2011, Yund purchased the house, which had last been operated as a bed and breakfast. In doing so, he said, he saved the grand residence—on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982—from being purchased by a developer and broken up into apartments.

“It’s very special,” he said. “A very warm, very comfortable Victorian home.”

Yund’s adult daughters, Mary and Emily, live with him, and the place understandably has become popular for extended family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

His grandchildren refer to it as “grandpa’s mansion.” There are six bedrooms (two originally for servants), 3 1/2 baths and three fireplaces equipped with gas logs. The attic, originally intended as a ballroom that never was completed, has been used as a basketball court; the hoops remain.

The house serves as a showcase for Yund’s large collections of antiques and artwork. There is a working Victrola in the foyer and a baby grand piano beneath the main staircase. (There is a second and decidedly less ornate set of stairs for servant use.) The crystal chandelier in the dining room came from the O’Neil mansion in Akron, Yund said.

Many of the ceiling light fixtures are original, as is the colorful stained-glass triptych in the dining room. On a framed 1884 map of Massillon, he points out the Russell & Co. factory and the Russell house. The taxidermied pheasant in Yund’s den holds sentimental value: It once decorated The Massillon Club.

Since buying the 132-year-old house, Yund has given it continual TLC. He has had the house reroofed and rewired, has had plaster repair work done, and has insulated the attic, which resulted in a 50 percent reduction in his gas heating bill.

“The radiator here is super efficient. There is not a cold spot in this house,” he said. Next up is exterior painting.

While he clearly adores his elaborate home, Yund said, “My goal is eventually to find a family that would make this their primary residence and really appreciate the history here. This will not be sold to just anybody.”

Feeling a need to share The Thomas H. Russell House, which “was built for entertaining,” Yund has opened the place for select community events and rents out the first floor for bridal and baby showers, catered rehearsal dinners and other celebrations. For details, contact Yund at
330-806-6325.