Looking up North Street from Fourth Street. The substantial house on the corner of Fourth and North Streets was originally owned by James Russ.
Photo: Historical Society of Dauphin County
The Keeley Institute opened in 1892 in the Russ mansion on the corner of Fourth and North Streets. The mansion, rumored to cost upwards of $30,000, was constructed by James Russ after he purchased the property from the Herr estate. Soon after construction, the property was leased to a group of men wanting to open an institute for the treatment of those addicted to liquor and drugs. It moved for a short period to another location in Harrisburg before re-opening in the Russ mansion in 1901.
After the Keeley Institute removed from this location for the last time, it was used as a boarding house before being purchased by the state to be used as government offices.
During the absence of the Keeley Institute, the mansion was used by the Sisters of Mercy to treat typhoid victims from Camp Meade during the Spanish American War.
(Summarized from an article written by J. Howard Wert for the Harrisburg Patriot newspaper on May 12, 1913, and reprinted in Harrisburg's Old Eighth Ward, edited by Michael Barton and Jessica Dorman, (Charleston: Arcadia, 2002), 114-117.)