ATKINSON'S FORMER POST OFFICE
By Teresa R Eshelman
Atkinson's former post office is located in Sugar Bush on New York Route 3 East, approximately 2 1/2 miles from the Clinton County line and 20 miles northeast of Saranac Lake.
The above parcel is located in the Town of Franklin in Lot 311.1-22.1 and consists of 18 acres purchased on February 28, 1985 (Liber 519 - Page 624) by Mr. & Mrs. Rex W. Atkinson, who have made extensive repairs and alterations, yet keeping the integrity of this old landmark.
The property was essentially rural and was farmed, the outbuildings and barns were located across the highway (Route 3) from the home. Thomas Russell and his wife Mary Jane Collins operated the farm and post office with the help of the boys from the orphanages. Route 3 from Cadyville to Sugar Bush was a dirt road in about 1905. The original Route 3 road in front of the home was very close to the house as were many others in that time frame. The portion of this road from Collins Corners (Clinton County) to Merrill's Corners (Pine Grove) was re-aligned in 1965, which left a desirable distance between the highway and the house for privacy reasons. Marie Doyle, their daughter remained on the property until it was sold to the Atkinsons in 1985.
Atkinson - Russell House Side Porch
Atkinson - Russell House 1999
In prior years the home was used as a residence and a post office for the area. Thomas Russell, the owner, was appointed as Postmaster January 3, 1901 until the appointment of Mary J. Russell on May 20, 1915. On March 15, 1934 the post office was discontinued and the mail went to Loon Lake. Documentation obtained from the National Archives Branch in Atlanta, Georgia.
The original two story house was built in the 1800's, with clapboard and cobblestone exterior. Originally, the cobble stone porch on the north side was open and by the 1920's was closed in with cobblestone and windows. There were shutters on the windows in the early 1880 photo. Also, as seen by the photos, the open cobblestone porch on the south side, with the cobblestone columns has been refurbished and kept. The former dormers remain and were fitted with new windows. The front gabled end of the house had two four-pane windows, which were replaced with a new six-pane bow window. A two-car garage, a workshop, decks and back porch have been added.
Russell House in the 1930's
Russell House in the 1880's
Town of Franklin
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