The Russell Building returns to another generation of family.
When Milton Culbertson Russell (b. 6 April 1844) was 16 years old, he clerked at John H. Richeson Wholesale Grocer located at the corner of Third and Market Sts in downtown Maysville. He then became a salesman (1864) with D. A. Richardson who was a dealer in groceries, liquor and seeds. In 1881, M.C. Russell purchased an interest in Richardson’s store and by 1886 M.C. was the sole proprietor. All three of M.C. sons, James Barbour, Christopher Dudley and Thomas McCarthey, worked as salesmen. Eventually the business became known as M.C. Russell and Son as his eldest son, James Barbour, became more involved in the business. When M.C. died, the business title became known as M.C. Russell Co.
In a newspaper article from 1910, it stated “the company are wholesale grocers, liquor dealers and seedmen, and handle Grand Dad and other leading brands of whiskies, and also carry a full line of wines, gins and brandies of the highest grade. Their business on the road is cared for by an efficient corps of traveling salesmen and an immense business is done annually.”
The original building that housed the Richeson/Richardson/Russell businesses was an ordinary three-story brick building. In 1892, the Russell’s were determined to tear away the old building and “replace it with one more in conformity with modern ideas and especially adapted to the use to which it was to be put.”
The Russell Building is comprised of five stories and a basement with the size being 57 1/2 x 87 feet . It was said to be the largest mercantile building in the city. Bedford limestone columns provide base ornamentals for the structure with the cornerstone housing the initials, MCR. Two angels hold the building date, 1892, and flank the name, Russell Building, on the south side of the building. The cost to build this beautiful structure was approximately $20,000.
In August 2004, John Basil Mattingly, gave his wife, Luanne Kilgus Mattingly, an anniversary present, the Russell Building. She is the great great granddaughter of M. C. Russell. After many years the building is now back in the family.
Renovations continue, if ever so slowly, to bring this magnificent building back to it’s glory with a planned 1930’s era décor complete with soda fountain and Kentucky Proud gift items contained on the ground level floor. While waiting on the store to open in its physical location, enjoy ordering Kentucky items on our online store by engaging the SHOP button. New items are being added regularly to the site.