Created By: New Bedford Preservation Society
This mansion house was built in 1830 for Charles Russell, a descendant of the founder of
the original Bedford Village. Charles Russell died in an accident in 1836 and his house was subsequently rented to Edward Mott Robinson, the father of Hetty Green, businesswoman and financier once known as "the richest woman in America". Her father, “Black Hawk” Robinson, was once begrudgingly referred to as the “Napoleon of the business community” and it is suspected that Hetty learned much of her financial acumen from her father. The Russell Mansion was later sold to Henry H. Forbes, a coach and chase maker. His coach works were famous for both ordinary carriages and for racing coaches and sleighs. In mid-winter, his sleighs would be raced down County Street between Union Street and Washington Square and on Rodney French Boulevard at the Cove. He also made and raced “velocipedes” (those tall bicycles propelled by pedals attached directly to the front wheels) in a hall on Elm Street.
The structure at 1061 Pleasant Street is an example of architecture in transition from Federal style to Greek Revival. The tall, three-storied granite mass with flanking wings is consistent with conservative (for the 1830’s) Federal style building practices. Also, a Federal feature was the balustrade
which originally marked the roof line. The Doric columns of the porches and Doric frieze above them are good Greek Revival forms. The mixture of elements is common in the 1820’s.
This point of interest is part of the tour: New Bedford Pathways Tour #5: North Bedford Historic District Tour