S: There's no place like ...... Alan P. Goldstein
BC: Public Square, June 1966
FC: There's no place like ..... | by Alan P. Goldstein
1: Acknowledgments I appreciate the photos and assistance provided by the following classmates and friends: Stan Bartlett Donna Percy Cronk Connie Adderley Davis Larry Fontana Jen Guernsey Barbara Greene Kehoe Mike Modlin Rande Richardson Donna Montondo Rivers | The original edition of this book was produced specifically for the Watertown High School Class of 1964 50th Class Reunion 1-2 August 2014 | © 2014 Alan P. Goldstein | All color photographs by the author, excepting those of classmates.
2: A river runs through it ..... | "First among the claims of our city, stands pre-eminently its unsurpassed water power. The value of a falling stream to the manufacturing interests of the world is entirely beyond calculation. Its flow is ceaseless, nature exacts no royalty and it seems the perfection of power, inasmuch as the advance of civilization and enlightenment interferes not with its strength, lessens not its force, and suggests no possible improvement. Black River, which has its source in the midst of the myriad lakes which abound in the great forests of the North, flows with steady and rapid course through the very heart of our city." - Watertown, N.Y.: A History of its settlement and progress. Published by the Watertown Manufacturers Aid Association, 1876
3: Why it's called Watertown. [Above] The Black River cascades down these falls at the substation on Moulton Street, as seen from the Mill Street bridge on 15 November 2013. [Top left] View from the parking lot on J.B. Wise place in June 1979. Note the railroad tracks, now the Black River Parkway. [Lower left] The view from the Marshall Place parking lot in 1966. [Left] The ruins of the foundry of the Bagley and Sewell Company on the west end of Sewall or Norton Island as seen from the Pearl Street bridge on 14 August 2009. In the foreground is the south branch of the Black River as it flows around the island.
4: A great place to grow up ...
5: Watertown Public Schools Academy Street - Arsenal Street - Boon Street Butterfield - Cooper - J.C. Thompson Knickerbocker - Lansing Street - Massey Street Meade Street - Ohio Street - Sherman Street Starbuck - State Street North Junior High School South Junior High School Watertown High School
8: Empsall's .. the place to go for the names you know! | A dominant structure on the city's skyline, the eight-story Rothstock Building was erected in 1906. The Art Deco building, later known as the Brighton, was home to Watertown's famous Empsall's Department Store from 1907 to 1993. The two bottom floors once occupied by Empsall's have hosted many businesses since the department store closed.
9: The Globe Store evolved from a business started in 1892 by Hyman Ellis, working in the basement space of a house at the corner of Court and Jackson Streets. The first part of the Globe Store building was started in 1919 and completed in October 1921. The entire building was completed in October 1935. The Globe continued in business until 1976 when it closed its doors. Turned into a "mini-mall," the building housed several tenants and then Re-Sale America moved in in 2008, and moved out in December 2011. This photo is from 13 August 2009.
10: Court Street
12: The Avon Theater was erected on 4 January 1886 as the City Opera House. It was remodeled during 1919 and mid-1920, and reopened 8 July 1920. It was razed as part of Watertown's Urban Renewal project in March 1967.
13: Arsenal Street was originally named Columbia Street. The old Jefferson County Courthouse, upper left, was built in 1862. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. The first armory was built in 1809 and was used as an arsenal until 1850, when the U.S. government sold it to Edwin and Oscar Paddock, who used it as a tobacco warehouse. It was later demolished. The second armory, lower two photos, was built in 1879. The Army ended its use of the building in the mid-1950s. Used for dances and other entertainment, the building was razed as part of urban renewal.
14: Before urban renewal in 1967, pedestrians could cut through the stores on Arsenal Street --- the Bee Hive, Bradley Hardware, Law's Drugs --- and come out onto Court Street. The first piece of mail postmarked in the old post office, right center, was on 27 June 1909.
15: The federal grant for urban renewal didn't cover the cost of the project. For two years, three blocks of streets were vacant lots, while planners struggled to come up with a viable project that could be developed with the funds available. Finally, in 1970, the City Center Mall and two adjacent department stores opened. Woolworth's moved to become the City Center Mall's anchor store. Woolworth's closed in 1996 with the commercial growth of outer Arsenal Street, moving retail out of downtown.
16: Class of 1964
20: The land for Public Square was donated to the settlement in 1805 by the earliest settlers Hart and Isaiah Massey, Henry Coffeen, Zachariah Butterfield, Jonathan Cowan, Jesse Doolittle, Aaron Keyes, and Medad Canfield. It was then known as the Mall. | An 1849 fire destroyed most of Public Square and buildings on three adjacent streets. In the rebuilding of the Square in the1850s, the city created three parks at the square's center, with a fountain inside the center park.
21: During Watertown's industrial boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Public Square became the heart of the city's retail, business and social life. In the 1950s, the three parks in the square's center were combined into one large park. The Square's retail and business dominance started declining in the latter half of the 20th century. Urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in the demolition of some of the Square's historic structures. Declining industry hurt Watertown's once-prospering economy.
22: These two photographs are from the Library of Congress and are Public Square on 6 October 1909. The top photograph shows the Woodruff House to the left and Washington Hall to the right. The Woodruff House was built soon after the great fire in 1849 by Norris M. Woodruff. Washington Hall was built in 1853, on the site of Perkins' hotel, and the site of the home of Zachariah Butterfield, the third house in Watertown. The lower photo shows Moore's 5&10 cent store at the corner at Arsenal Street. This building also housed the American House. To the left of center can be seen the construction of the Northern New York Trust Company building.
23: Another major landmark is the First Baptist Church, 207 State Street, at the east end of Public Square. The original Baptist church, a small wooden building, was erected in 1828 on Factory Street. It was a sold in 1837 to the Catholic congregation. During the same year, another Baptist church was erected at the east end of Public Square. It was dedicated Jan. 10, 1838, and burned March 8, 1849. A brick church was built to replace that which had burned. The congregation continued to grow, and the current building was constructed in 1891 on the same ground.
24: The Fountain | The fountain in Public Square. The original fountain was erected in 1853. In the 1940s and 1950s, the fountain was painted with aluminum paint and the lighting at night was reflected from that paint. The fountain was rebuilt by the New York Air Brake Company and employee-members of the Molders-Foundry Workers Union in 1960 following damage by attendees at a fireman's convention in the city. | The fountain was out of commission for nearly seven years after being felled by a bar hopper who climbed on it in July 2002. (more) | The city paid an Alabama company $68,350 to restore, recast and reinstall the fountain. The bowl and cement support beams were replaced in 2008 during the Public Square streetscape project. It was rededicated May 16, 2009, following the Armed Forces Day parade.
25: Public Square | and Franklin Street
26: The Crystal Restaurant | The restaurant, at 87 Public Square, opened in 1922. Operated by the Dephtereos family since the 1940s when they purchased the restaurant, the Crystal has featured a basic menu of good food at very low prices. The decor has also remained the same. Maryann Bancroft, middle right, has been a waitress at the Crystal since 1963. ‘It’s my home,’ she says.
27: The Woodruff House was constructed by Norris M. Woodruff in 1852 and had ninety rooms at the time. By 1921, the number had grown to 250, and the building became known as the Hotel Woodruff. It was home to the Rainbow Room and the studios of WWNY radio. WWNY broadcast from the Woodruff from April 1941 to March 1970, when it moved to the consolidated studios on Arcade Street. Anthony Street, a pedestrian walkway, led from Public Square to J.B. Wise Place. The ceasing of passenger trains to Watertown (the depot was located behind the hotel) and the emergence of modern motels led to the demise of the grand old lady. The Woodruff closed its doors in 1974 and was soon abandoned. After sitting vacant for two years, the city razed the structure in 1976. | The Hotel Woodruff
28: Public Square
30: [Right] Public Square in early 1956. To the right of the Genesee beer sign was Cahill's Sporting Goods, George Bonadio's liquor store, and Conde Hardware.
32: Frank W. Woolworth began the 5 & 10 cent business in White's store on the American Corner. Woolworth began his retail career at the Smith and Moore Dry Goods Store in 1873. It was during this time he had the idea of selling fixed price merchandise, which led him to create his successful chain of five and dime department stores in 1879. The Smith and Moore store later became a member of the Woolworth chain. In 1916, Woolworth purchased the American Building. Woolworth planned to demolish this structure and build a grander building in its place. Woolworth's death in 1919 initially halted these plans, but the Woolworth Corporation eventually decided to go ahead with his plans, and the new six-story Woolworth Building opened its doors in 1921. Woolworth's occupied the building until 1971, when the store moved into a new building across Arsenal Street. That building occupied a large portion of the area cleared by Urban Renewal which began in 1967. | Birthplace of the 5 & 10
33: At No. 1 Public Square, the Paddock Arcade remains the benchmark structure in Watertown's historic downtown district. Built in 1850 by Loveland Paddock and designed by architect Otis Wheelock, it was based on similar arcades of that era in the U.S. and Europe. Shops occupied the bottom floor, while the upper floors were used for office space. It is the second oldest covered shopping mall in the U.S. Since it has seen uninterrupted use since it opened, it is also the country's oldest continuously operating covered shopping mall. In the 1920s, the Arcade was renovated, leaving its original Gothic interior for a more modern design, including installation of the current translucent, steel-and-wire-glass dropped ceiling between its second and third stories, allowing light to filter in from the Arcade's glass roof. The Arcade was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. | The Arcade
34: Lower Washington Street
36: The Watertown Bank and Loan Company was organized in 1859 by George C. Sherman, with a capital of $100,000. In 1865, the name was changed to the National Bank and Loan Company when it was consolidated with the National Union Bank. The National Bank and Loan Company merged with the Union Bank of Watertown in 1910 to become the Northern New York Trust Company on Aug. 12. [Right] The construction of the Northern New York Trust Company building on Oct. 6, 1909. The company was absorbed into the Marine Midland bank on June 1, 1963, and continued until Marine Midland was sold to HSBC on 31 December 1999. This branch of HSBC was closed on 10 September 2012. | The Northern New York Trust Company
37: Roswell Pettibone Flower was born in Theresa on Aug. 7, 1835. His father died when Roswell was 8 and he went to work while attending school. Moving to Watertown in 1853 at age 18, he worked in a hardware store. At 20, he was made deputy postmaster. Successful in business, he was elected to Congress, serving from Dec. 5, 1881, to March 3, 1883. He was elected again and served from March 4, 1889, to Sept. 16, 1891, when he resigned upon his nomination for Governor. He was Governor of New York from 1892 to 1894. He died of a heart attack May 12, 1899. The statue of Gov. Flower, erected 1 September 1902, was designed by the famous sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens. The statue weighs more than two tons, and the granite pedestal weighs eight tons. The pedestal was formed from a solid block six and a half feet high by four and a half feet square. The cost of the entire work was estimated at $40,000. The unveiling ceremony was attended by 10,000 people. | Roswell P. Flower
38: Funded by Mrs. Emma Flower Taylor in memory of her father, the building was designed by architects Orchard, Lansing and Joralemon and cost $250,000. Mrs, Taylor laid the cornerstone on 11 July 1903. The building, opened to the public on Jan. 4, 1905, is in the Grecian style of architecture, with many Roman features adapted to modern requirements. A new addition was started in March 1975 and completed in June 1976. | The Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library
39: The entrance and main rotunda of the library is centered on a bust of Roswell P. Flower by Augustus St. Gaudens.
40: The North Reading Room mural (right) is "The Open Book," created especially for the library by Ella Condie Lamb. The mural depicts a mother surrounded by her children and is meant to convey that books are the source of knowledge. The artist used her four children as models, with a fifth added per Mrs. Flower's wishes. This child, on the lap of the mother, was a memorial to Mrs. Taylor's son who died in infancy. The model was Mrs. Lamb's 3-year-old son Condie.
41: The Napoleonic Room (left). The antique mahogany bookcase was a gift from Emma Flower Taylor and may have originally come from James LeRay de Chaumont. The oil painting of Napoleon is the work of Paul Delarouche (1797-1856), a French historic portrait painter. The room was restored in October 1954, reflecting the brilliance and elegance of the Empire period as shown in the flocked wallpaper and lighting. The Napoleonic Room demonstrates the influence of French settlers and Napoleonic emigres to Northern New York. | The North Staircase (above). The large mural is "The Conference between De La Barre and the Five Nations," painted by George W. Breck (1863-1920). The description reads "A conference between De La Barre, Governor of Canada, and representatives of Five Nations was held at La Famine Bay, Jefferson County, Sept. 3, 1684. The French desired to conclude a treaty of alliance with the Indians but were defeated in the purpose." George Breck was the Director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome from 1904 to 1909.
42: Marble sculpture of "Unconciousness" by Launt Thompson. It has also been called "The Chief's Bride" and "Girl Playing with Turtle." The sculpture was completed in Italy and is Thompson's only known nude figure. Thompson worked on it for 30 years as it was likely a labor of love and not a commissioned work. It represents a young woman captured by the Delaware Indians when she was small and later found by her family. She chose to remain with her captors and marry the chief rather than return home. She sits on her blanket caressing a turtle, the totem of the tribe. The sculpture was presented to the library in 1906 by Charles Starbuck of the New York Air Brake Company. The neck was broken when the statue was shipped from New York City. | (Below) This is one of two statues flanking the fountain by Gerolamo Oldofredi of Milan in the South Corridor of the library. This is nicknamed "Huckleberry Finn."
43: City Hall and the State Office Building
44: The museum is housed in the former Paddock Mansion, which was built between 1876 and 1878 by John Griffin. It was the home of local banker Edwin L. Paddock (who died 22 July 1909) and his wife, Olive (Wheeler). The home was designed in the Eastlake tradition by architect John Hose, and combined Tuscan Villa elements "for him" and Swiss Chalet "for her". Mrs. Olive Paddock bequeathed the home to the Society in 1922, and it opened as a museum in 1924. It houses many artifacts from the history of Watertown and Jefferson County. | The Jefferson County Historical Society Museum
45: (Left to right, top to bottom): The Agricultural Insurance Company, the Watertown Daily Times, the Masonic Temple, and the Watertown National Bank. The American Legion Post #61 occupied this building pictured to the left. It was on the corner of Clinton and Washington Streets, where the Best Western is today. The Legion moved to its current location on Sterling Street in the late 1950s.
46: In 1836, the Watertown Presbytery and the Black River Association began work to establish an institution of higher education. In 1838, the "Black River Literary and Religious Institute" was built at the corner of State and Mechanic streets at a cost of $6,500. Its name was changed to the "Jefferson County Institute" on Feb. 23, 1846. The name changed to Watertown High School in 1865 when the building was leased to the Board of Education, incorporated in 1864. A new, modern high school was completed on Sterling Street in 1904 (right). The current high school at 1335 Washington Street was completed in 1950. | Watertown High School
47: State Street
48: Any discussion of the history of the Children's Home always begins with the night of Feb. 28, 1859, when the widow O'Donnell, living on Beebee's Island, fell down some stairs, breaking her neck and dying almost instantly. Her two orphaned children, James, 10, and Mattie, 8, were destitute with no one to care for them. While the possibility of an orphan's home had been discussed before, the disaster that had befallen the O'Donnell children precipitated action. A small group of women, led by Mrs. Cornelia Hubbard Lansing, selected Miss Jane Frazier as matron and quickly secured a house at 2 Woodruff Street. Due to increasing need, the Home moved to a house at the corner of Sterling and Goodale Streets, owned by George C. Sherman. This house was soon outgrown and the next move was to a house on Franklin Street , almost across from Goodale. By October 1862, with more children needing a home, and with $5,000 donated, the fourth home was built on land donated by Rev. Richard G. Keyes on Franklin Street at what is now the site of Saint Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church (Top right). | The Children's Home of Jefferson County
49: Occupancy of the building on Franklin Street began Apr. 20, 1864. With the need increasing --- there now being 90 children in residence --- the Jefferson County Orphan Asylum purchased a 14-acre site on outer State Street, which included the former Harlan P. Dunlap farm, on Feb. 23, 1918. But it wasn't until October 1928 that the children moved into the four brick cottages flanking the administration building at the current campus location of 1704-1760 State Street. The institution was renamed the Children's Home of Jefferson County in 1930, since most residents were not orphaned. The old Dunlap farmhouse (left) has served as an infirmary, staff quarters, and home for the superintendent. | This bird bath, featuring a sculpture of a child holding a goose, is the result of a letter written by Mrs. Elizabeth Bunce, wife of Superintendent Eugene Bunce, in 1930 in response to a magazine article about an Australian memorial fund financing animal watering fountains at public parks and institutions caring for children. The bird bath remains at the State Street campus today.
50: J.C. Thompson Park, located on Pinnacle Hill, was donated to the City by John C. Thompson, a Schenectady native and founder of the New York Air Brake Co., at the turn of the 20th century. Acting on behalf of Mr. Thompson, George C. and Alice T. Sherman deeded the first 191 acres of parkland to the city in 1917. It now includes 513 acres of land on the southeast edge of the city. The Thompson Park Conservancy has undertaken a major renovation at the Zoo. It is now home to animals which are native to the North Country. A public swimming pool, tennis courts, exercise trail, playground and an 18 hole private golf course are also located at Thompson Park. While there is a charge to visit the Zoo and to use the golf course, other facilities are open to the public free of charge. The park was designed by the famous Frederick Law Olmsted. | J.C. Thompson Park
51: The Jefferson County Agricultural Society was formed in 1817. Membership in the JCAS cost $1 per year ($1,000 in today's money) and was held by some of Jefferson County’s most well-known citizens, including James LeRay de Chaumont, Jacob Brown, Egbert TenEyck, Hart Massey, Noadiah Hubbard and Roswell Woodruff. Former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, both southern plantation owners and agriculturalists, also were members. The Society's first fair was held in September 1818 and lasted only two days. That fair came to be known as the Jefferson County Fair and has been held annually ever since. In August 1851, the executive board of the JCAS bought 10 acres of land on Brownville Road, known today as Coffeen Street. The area was fenced and a building was built to house fair exhibitions. This has been home to the Jefferson County Fair since. The fair is the oldest continually operated county fair in the U.S. | The Jefferson County Fair
52: Factory Street
53: One of Watertown's longtime and large employers, the New York Air Brake Company was the successor to the Eames Vacuum Brake Company, incorporated in 1876. In 1883, John C. Thompson and George B. Massey secured a controlling interest in Eames. On July 1, 1890, Mr. Thompson converted the company into the New York Air Brake Company (NYAB) just in time for a booming brake market driven by an 1893 law mandating standardized brakes for all railroad cars. In 1902, NYAB bought the 268-acre Poole Farm and began its move to its present location at the intersection of Starbuck Avenue and Pearl Street. On June 15, 1967, NYAB merged with General Signal Corporation. By 1990, New York Air Brake had furnished $100 million worth of equipment for more than half of New York City's subway cars before NYAB's Transit Division was established as the Knorr Brake Company and moved to Westminster, Maryland. On January 2, 1991, Knorr-Bremse acquired New York Air Brake's rail braking business from General Signal. Today, NYAB is a supplier of innovative train control systems for the railroad industry. | New York Air Brake Company