Another Perspective From Phil Russo

Here’s yet another great perspective on the Sanford-Bristol House controversy, submitted by Phil Russo, a former Milford, Connecticut resident, and founding member of the Milford Preservation Trust. Once again, I’ve shared his words as a full posting to enhance their visibility:

I am biased. I love history. Reading about it, going to a house where a particular person lived, walking the grounds, going to the cemetery, and seeing their name carved in slate. Reading about HOW a house was built, finding the actual tools, and learning how to use them. Even the 1885 Morgan dollar I carry in my pocket everyday. History is in everything all around you. You just have to look, you have to WANT to look. It’s a cycle.

There are certain people who have this passion, and frankly people driven only by greed and the plows and wrecking balls of “progress” who’ll push over the past to make way for a temporary built future. A mere momentary structure—never to stand as long and as tall as the one that was razed to make room.

One need only open the pages of Early American Life magazine to see articles about people who bought an old barn and transformed it into a show piece. Or a house empty for decades inhabited only by raccoon, snakes, weeds and trees growing through the structure, only to lovingly restore it. and have it featured in a national publication!

The point to all my rambling here is I have that passion. The Sanford-Bristol House is EASILY restored, PERIOD. Unfortunately the man who purchased the house lacks the same passion as myself, or that of the people who rescued those barns and reptile and weed infested hulks that they live in today that shine like new and are warm, welcoming peeks into the past….not to mention the people who pile their children into cars and drive by “the old house,” in their neighborhoods full of vinyl sided plywood boxes, who then, in amazement, say “Mom, houses used to look like that? Can we get one?”

- Phil Russo

Thank you very much, Phil, for once again choosing to share your thoughts here. It’s truly appreciated by me, and by many of the like-minded readers of this journal.

Image of Sanford-Bristol House and bumper sticker


About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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2 Responses to Another Perspective From Phil Russo

  1. Daniel L. Bosques says:

    Thank you for sharing your feelings on history and this house. It is refreshing to know of people who share the same sentiment for American antiquity. It’s a nostalgia we’re threatened to lose as time goes on, as more people seem to feel old is bad, and outdated is taboo. I have hope that the right thing will be done for the Sanford House.

    p.s. I too enjoy re-reading my Early American Life Magazine issues. Those old back-issues themselves are already a part of material history. Can you believe I’ve collected a lot of them from people’s trash (I’m not ashamed to admit I’m also a picker)? The fact that people are so quick to throw such valuable information away is proof that more Americans should be like-minded in the effort to save and preserve historical landmarks.

    • John Poole says:

      Thanks for adding your own thoughts and perspectives here, Dan. I’m likewise a long-time fan of EAL, by the way. That magazine has done much to both inform and enlighten me, and also serves as a great source of restoration ideas and guidance. Like you, I save all my old copies, and treat them as one more critical homebuilding information resource. ~John

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