In 1972, when the grand granite staircase of the old County Courthouse was being destroyed to
facilitate the widening of Main Street, Robert Pollack, a White Plains Beautification Foundation
board member, began discussions with the contractor in charge of preparing the county
property about the possibility of removing the granite steps intact. Pollack estimated the value
of the granite steps, which were in excellent condition, at around $40,000. He convinced Ernie
Pachianna, owner of Trumid Construction Co. to “recycle” the steps.
In 1973, White Plains Beautification Foundation petitioned the County to reserve a large area
around a large copper beech tree on Quarropas Street where the old White Plains Public Library
had been demolished. The Malmud family expressed an interest in contributing to a parklet
there. A lovely garden was planted and some of the granite steps rescued from demolition
were installed as benches. (The rescued granite steps were also used as benches elsewhere in
In 1981, Theodora L. “Teddy” Russell, one of the founders and a vice president of the White
Plains Beautification Foundation, asked that the copper beech tree be designated a living
memorial to her husband, the late Eugene E. Russell – a former assistant county attorney
whose window overlooked the tree – and set up a trust for the perpetual care of the tree.
Sadly, the tree succumbed to disease in 2008 and was removed.
However, White Plains Beautification Foundation arranged for a new Rivers Purple Beech tree
(Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’) to be planted on the site by Rosedale Nurseries on April 26, 2009
using funds from the Russell trust. Rosedale Nurseries also planted a backdrop border of