In 1912, Benjamin F.W. Russell (1875-1943), a partner in the Boston architectural firm of Little and Russell, purchased the former "poor farm" in Peterborough, where he spent weekends and summers. He had served as architect Guy Lowell's Chief Assistant on the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and was later responsible for more than anyone for Peterborough's transformation into a "progressive community." He brought the Georgian Revival style to Grove Street, with his design of the Town House, Historical Society, and first American Guernsey Cattle Club buildings. A contemporary of the MacDowells, and known for his involvement in community affairs, he was a member of the Old Phoenix Mill Associates, a group incorporated in 1916 to purchase and revitalize one of the town's major industries, the Phoenix Mill.
SOURCE: Peterborough Heritage Commission (2007)
20 GROVE STREET, THE PETERBOROUGH HISTORICAL SOCIETY BUILDING, and THE TOWN HOUSE were largely the inspiration of Benjamin F.W. Russell, a Boston architect who became a summer resident of the town in 1914. Each of these buildings was designed in the Georgian Revival style by Russell's architectural firm, Little and Russell of Boston. All three were constructed between 1916 and 1921 - in fact, the Town House and the Historical Society shared the same contractor, clerk of the works, and even the same brick supplier in order to save money.
Delegate Benjamin F. W. Russell of Peterborough was born in Boston, July 8, I875, educated in schools of Concord, Massachusetts, and was graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, class of 1898. He purchased the “Old Town Farm" at Peterborough, New Hampshire, in 1912; became a resident and voter there in 1914. and is there engaged in the breeding of Guernsey cattle and general farming. He is a member of the firm of Little & Russell. architects. 45 Bromfield street, Boston, -architects of the Peterborough Town House, American Guernsey Cattle Club Building, Peterborough Historical Building and the Peterborough Hospital. He is a member of the Peterborough Grange and Men's Club. Union and Algonquin Clubs of Boston, and Brookline Country Club; president of Old Phoenix Mill Associates Corporation of Peterborough, and of the Peterborough Hospital Corporation. Mr. Russell was chosen at a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Hon. Mortimer L. Morrison. Among the many good speeches made in the convention in favor of the special taxation of growing wood and timber his was one of the best.
SOURCE: The Granite Monthly, New Hampshire State Magazine,Vol LII, Concord, NH, 1920, p 106-107.