The Bedford County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce our move to the historic Russell House, located on the Squares in downtown Bedford between the US Post Office and the Bedford County Courthouse and adjacent to Veteran’s Grove.
The landmark, built in 1816 has gone through several incarnations, after initially being built as the private home for the family of James McPherson Russell, first Chief Burgess of Bedford. A prominent attorney, Russell served in the US Congress and as part of the Commonwealth’s Constitutional Committee. A contemporary of Dr. John Anderson, Russell also managed the Bedford Springs Resort for a time; he served as treasurer of the Bedford-to-Chambersburg Turnpike at the time of construction (Rt. 30), and was a member of the local militia. His son, Samuel Lyon Russell inherited the home, which served as residence for three generations of the Russell family.
The building was later used as a boarding house, furniture store and then served as a funeral home, during which time a pulley elevator was installed to move coffins from the basement to the first and second floors.
Later, the Russell House would become part of the County Courthouse complex, providing office space for Commissioners, Judges and other county officials while the courthouse was being renovated.
The Chamber entered into a purchase option agreement with the property’s private owner in 2016 while our organization began to work through a Federal grant process. The purchase was completed in May of 2017; we continue to take steps toward a grant that would allow the Chamber to update the building to create a Business & Education Center which will include community meeting space, an office for St. Francis Small Business Development Center, business rental offices (accelerator space) as well as a shared-space incubator. In all, as many as 14 business could be housed within the building, as entrepreneurs begin their journey toward success.
Additional features being planned for the property include a Heritage Garden and Courtyard, Rotating Community Art Exhibits, Warming/Catering Kitchen, and more.
The Chamber is proud to share this building with the community and the county, as we continue to work to make Bedford County the best place possible to live, work, play and prosper.
A capital campaign is underway to provide the match needed per the federal grant application, with many naming opportunities for major gifts. For more information about these opportunities, please call the Chamber office at 814.623.2233.