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Middletown CT Historic Homes: Samuel Wadsworth Russell House

The Samuel Wadsworth Russell House in Middletown, Connecticut is one of the first mansions built in the form of a Greek temple that launched the influence of the Greek Revival style in the mid-19th century, which created Tremendous influence. It was built between 1828 and 1830 by a man who became very wealthy in Chinese trade and hopes to build a monument to his success.

This is the first large-scale mansion in the United States, using the right proportion of Greek temples and six Corinthian columns on the front. Over the next forty years, it will be widely replicated and spread to New England, the Midwest, and to define the pre-war southern.

Samuel Wadsworth Russell House represents an important turning point in American architecture in several important ways. In the United States, the design of individual houses has never been so widely publicized in the journals of the time, and this has had an impact on residential buildings. It was also a major catalyst for professional architects in the United States, and it was a unique profession of masters and designers and builders at the time.

Born in Middletown, Connecticut in 1789, Samuel Russell is a colonial family with a long history. However, he was orphaned at the age of 12, did not receive college education or inheritance, and served as an early apprentice at a maritime company in Middletown, Connecticut, where he studied the transaction. After completing his apprenticeship, he began to travel on board a supercargo ship, which was hired by the owner of the cargo on board.

Russell arrived in Guangzhou at the age of 29 in 1819. By 1824, he was the founder of Russell & Company, specializing in fine silk, tea and porcelain and a profitable opium trade.

In terms of trade projects, China produces far more than the rest of the world, but most Western trade projects have few markets in China. Traditional Confucian values ​​do not attach great importance to merchants. Unlike other trading countries, trade with China is highly restricted and is based on the recognition of the supremacy of the Chinese emperor as the Son of Heaven.

In the 19th century China, trade was based more on the contribution to the throne than on free trade – only accepting silver or gold to pay. Opium is a trade project, and Western traders can maintain balance of payments because there are few Chinese markets in the West.

Before the Opium War forced China to open its ports, Guangzhou was one of the few ports that China allowed to trade with the West, trying to isolate the corrupt influence of foreign businessmen on the Chinese people. Although opium is illegal in China, and when they agree to Bangladesh, Western trafficking to China is largely controlled by the British, but Russell challenges their dominance of Far East trade by smuggling Turkish opium across the Atlantic and Pacific.

He was apparently the majority of foreign traders at the time, and they believed that there was no problem with the ethics of the opium trade, because at that time only one foreign trading company in Guangzhou refused to participate in trade for moral reasons. Russell eventually became China's largest and most profitable US trading company until the end of the 19th century.

When Russell was in China, the United States was looking for a new aesthetic based on classical Greek elements. This can be proved by the number of towns established in the United States in the early 19th century with Greek names and a generation of children named after Greek legendary heroes.

Russell commissioned Ithiel Town to design his "city villa", which was called "the father of Greek revival." When the house was built in 1828, Russell was in China and asked his friend Samuel Hubbard to supervise the construction of the house with his wife, Mary Cotton Osborne.

In the summer of 1831, after returning from Canton, Russell first saw his new home on the dhow deck on the Connecticut River. However, even before he saw it, the house was publicized to the American public in January 1831 by carving the "American terrain" of Hiddington and later the 1835 version of Minard Lafever&#39. s "The beauty of modern architecture," he said.

In China, his wife, Mary, died with his two sons. The children were under the care of Mary's sister Frances. When Samuel returned in 1831, he married Francis and they had a son, Samuel Wadsworth Russell, because of Samuel [Samuel].

Between 1831 and 1836, Russell oversaw the construction of his new home and decorated the exquisite treasures from the east, and in 1836 began the active management of Russell. At the time, Russell Real Estate occupied the entire block of High, Court, and Pearl. And the streets of Washington. Russell planted vast land on the square, with formal gardens, including plants imported from the UK, and bought back from China.

He reinvested the huge profits of China's trade in a series of successful American companies, including banking, industrial and Western rail stocks, enabling him to lead a very prosperous life until his death in 1862.

The house was widely imitated across the country and inspired other Greek Revival homes on the wealthy streets of Middletown, which Charles Dickens called the most beautiful streets in the United States. The house remained in the Russell family for five generations until Thomas Macdonough Russell [Jr] finally handed it over to Wesleyan University in 1937.

Currently, the house is a facility in the Department of Philosophy of the University and is home to writers, poets and schools. In summer, it is used for special events, weddings and parties.

Samuel Wadsworth Russell House is often cited as the prime example of Greek revived architecture in the United States. In 1970, it was included in the National Register of Historic Places and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2001. Located in 350 High Street Middletown, Connecticut's High Street and southeast corner of Washington Street, Samuel Wadsworth Russell House is one of the most important historic buildings in the United States.

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