Watertown (city), New York

Watertown (city), New York

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Watertown, New York
settlement_type = City
nickname = The Garland City
motto =
postal_code_type = Zip Code
postal_code = 13601, 13602

imagesize =
image_caption =



pushpin_label_position =
pushpin_map_caption =Location within the State of New York
pushpin_mapsize =

mapsize =
map_caption =

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = New York
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Jefferson
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Jeffrey Graham
established_title = Settled
established_date = 1800
established_title2 =
established_date2 =
established_title3 =
established_date3 =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 24.0
area_total_sq_mi = 9.3
area_land_km2 = 23.2
area_land_sq_mi = 9
area_water_km2 = 0.8
area_water_sq_mi = 0.3
area_water_percent =
area_urban_km2 =
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
population_as_of = 2000
population_note =
population_total = 27,000
population_density_km2 = 1,150.8
population_density_sq_mi = 2,981.3
population_metro =
population_density_metro_km2 =
population_density_metro_sq_mi =
population_urban =
timezone = EST
utc_offset = -4
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
latd = 43 |latm = 58 |lats = 32 |latNS = N
longd = 75 |longm = 54 |longs = 23 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 142
elevation_ft = 466
website = [http://www.citywatertown.org/ www.citywatertown.org]
area_code = 315
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 36-78608GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0968914GR|3
footnotes =

Watertown is a city in the State of New York and the county seat of Jefferson County. It is situated near the Canadian border and the Thousand Islands. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 26,705. The U.S. Army base Fort Drum is near the city.

Named after the many falls located on the Black River, the city developed early in the 19th century as a manufacturing center. From years of generating industrial wealth, in the early 20th century the city was said to have more millionaires per capita than any other city in the nation. Residents of Watertown built a rich public and private architectural legacy. It is the smallest city to have a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the celebrated landscape architect who created Central Park in New York City.

Geographically, Watertown is located in the central part of Jefferson County. It lies 72.0 miles north of Syracuse, New York and 31 miles south of the Canadian border. The city is served by Watertown International Airport.

The city is known as the birthplace of the "Five and Dime" and the safety pin. It manufactured the first portable steam engine. It has the longest continually operating county fair in the United States and holds the Red and Black football franchise, the oldest surviving semi-professional team in the United States.


The city of Watertown was settled in 1800 by pioneers from New Hampshire, most notably Hart Massey, Henry Coffeen, and Zachariah Butterfield, part of a large migration into New York from New England after the Revolutionary War. These pioneers chose the area due to the Black River. The pioneers' vision was for an industrial center that would draw power from the Black River. All the land was rough and unclear. Elevation was also a problem. The western end of the town was 12 to 15 feet higher than the eastern end, with a large depression in the middle. A small stream also passed through the town. In a few years, the center of town was cleared for the Public Square. [http://www.citywatertown.org/history/history_more.html] Together with the 19th century structures that created a streetscape around it, this is recognized as a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The drop in the Black River at Watertown's location provided abundant water power for early industry. By the mid-19th century, entrepreneurs had built paper mills and major industries, including the first portable steam engine in 1847. In 1851 the city was joined to the state by the railroad. Other mills rapidly joined the business base and generated revenue to support public works projects like the water system and illuminating gas works in 1853, and a telephone system in 1879.

As businesses flourished, residents built ambitious retail buildings, churches and private residences. The Paddock Arcade, built in 1850 according to European and US models, is the oldest continuously operating enclosed mall in the United States. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as are several significant churches and private mansions.

Watertown became the county seat of Jefferson County, New York in 1805 and an Incorporated Village in 1816. In 1869, Watertown was incorporated as a city. In 1920, the city adopted a city manager style of government. The Jefferson County Courthouse Complex is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

An early industrial city that earned great wealth for many of its citizens by the turn of the 20th century, Watertown also developed an educated professional class of doctors and lawyers. As industrial technology shifted and jobs changed, Watertown suffered economic and population declines. The city has been working in recent decades to redevelop its downtown and capitalize on its rich architectural heritage, compact downtown and well-designed residential areas.

Today the city serves as the commercial and financial center for a large rural area. It is the major community closest to Fort Drum and the post's large population. Since the city is located just 25 miles from the international boundary via the Thousand Islands Bridge, shopping by Canadian visitors is an important part of the local economy.

Notable residents

Notable people born in or who have resided in Watertown:

* Samuel Beardsley, New York State Attorney General 1836- 1839
* Albert Bouchard, Drummer for and co-founding member of popular rock band Blue Öyster Cult
* Joe Bouchard, Bassist for and co-founding member of popular rock band Blue Öyster Cult
* Rocco Canale, NFL player for Philadelphia Eagles 1944-1949
* Reginald Case, artist
* Allen Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency
* John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State
* Frederick Exley, author of "A Fan's Notes", 1968, and other works
* Leonard J. Farwell, businessman and Wisconsin governor
* Paul Finkelman, Historian
* Roswell P. Flower, Governor of New York. 1892 - 1895
* Oscar S. Gifford, lawyer and South Dakota politician
* Eric Greif, lawyer and heavy metal music personality
* Richard Grieco, actor, singer, former college football athlete
* Robert Guinan, painter
* Vic Hanson, athlete, enshrined in both the Basketball Hall of Fame (1960) and the College Football Hall of Fame(1973).
* Serranus Clinton Hastings, founded the Hastings College of the Law at University of California.
* Mary-Margaret Humes, actress
* Robert Lansing, U.S. Secretary of State
* Marcus Mastin, Mystery Author
* Dick May, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver
* Tim McCreadie, NASCAR Nationwide series driver
* Eugene Mosher, a pioneer of human-computer interaction best known for inventing the graphic touchscreen point-of-sale computer
* Viggo Mortensen, star of the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy
* Denis O'Brien, New York State Attorney General 1883 - 1887
* Sean Paddock, Musician
* Charles H. Sawyer, former governor of New Hampshire
* Siraj A. Sindhu, Scripps National Spelling Bee participant
* Todd A. Snyder, Senior Chief, U.S. Navy - "Father of the Enlisted Expeditionary Warfare Specialist Pin" 1970-1983.
* Maggie Rizer, Supermodel & AIDS Activist
* Frank W. Woolworth, founder of F. W. Woolworth Company/Five and Dime stores.
* Charles W. Yost, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
* Zina D. H. Young, leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and social activist

Recent events

In August 2006, Watertown made minor national news when Reverend Timothy LaBouf of First Baptist Church of Watertown, N.Y., then a city councilman, fired Mary Lambert, his church's Sunday School teacher of 54 years, for being a woman. LaBouf cited as reason a change in church policy to interpret literally the first epistle to Timothy: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." Mayor Jeffrey Graham was disturbed by this action and said: "If what's said in that letter reflects the councilman's views, those are disturbing remarks in this day and age." [http://articles.news.aol.com/news/_a/church-fires-teacher-for-being-female/20060821083709990008?ncid=NWS00010000000001] Timothy LaBouf and other leaders of First Baptist Church of Watertown were rebuked for this decision by several other Christian leaders, such as J.Lee Grady [http://www.charismamag.com/fireinmybones/] .

Watertown gained national attention when Watertown native and supermodel, Maggie Rizer, filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Mayor Graham and several other defendants. Rizer's stepfather, John Breen, Jr. had pirated as much as $7,000,000 from Rizer's financial accounts so he could play the state-sponsored game, Quick Draw, at several taverns - most notably Mayor Graham's bar, which was then named Speak Easy. (It is now Fort Pearl.) Breen was convicted and sent to prison on several felony counts. Mayor Graham was forced to give up his lottery license. This story was featured on a May 2005 episode of ABC's news magazine 20/20.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.3 sq mi(24.0 km²). 9.0 sq mi (23.2 km²) of it is land and 0.3 sq mi (0.8 km²) of it (3.45%) is water.

The Black River flows westward through the city toward Lake Ontario. The Black River is a world-renowned kayaking destination. Competition-level kayaking events, such as the Blackwater Challenge, have been held on the river.

By tradition, the city's name was derived from the abundant water power available from the river. Businesses harnessed water power to create one of the early industrial centers in New York. Paper mills were historically a major industry for the city and contributed to its 19th c. wealth.

Jefferson Community College (JCC) is located in the western part of the city near the fairgrounds.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 26,705 people, 11,036 households, and 6,500 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,981.3/sq mi (1,150.8/km²). There were 12,450 housing units at an average density of 1,389.9/sq mi (536.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.13% White, 4.95% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.67% from other races, and 2.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.59% of the population.

There were 11,036 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.7% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.1% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,429, and the median income for a family was $36,115. Males had a median income of $31,068 versus $21,294 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,354. About 14.4% of families and 19.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.2% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.


Major Highways and Roads that serve the Greater Watertown Area

One Interstate Highway runs through the Watertown area:

*I-81 is a north-south route that runs from near Dandridge, Tennessee north to Hill Island, Ontario, connecting via the Thousand Islands Bridge and a short connecting road to Highway 401 across the Canadian border. Interstate 81 passes just to the west of the city of Watertown, near Salmon Run Mall.

One US Highway runs through the Greater Watertown area:

*US 11 runs from eastern New Orleans, Louisiana to its northern terminus at the Canadian border in Rouses Point, New York. US 11 runs north-south through the City of Watertown.

Many highways converge on the city, NY-3, NY-12, and NY-12F. .

New York State Routes:

*NY 3 is an east-west route that begins in Sterling, NY and heads north and east to Watertown. NY 3 interchanges with I-81 at the city line. NY 3 heads east into Watertown, overlapping with both US 11 and NY 12 through downtown prior to leaving the city to the northeast to head through the Adirondacks to Plattsburgh.
*NY 12 is a north-south route through the city, extending northward to Clayton then following the St. Lawrence Seaway to Morristown, New York. A spur, NY 12E, takes a slightly-longer path through Cape Vincent, New York before rejoining NY 12.
*NY 12F is a spur connecting NY 12 in downtown Watertown to NY 180 near the Watertown International Airport in Dexter.

The three major AM radio stations hosted in Watertown are: AM 790 - WTNY, news/talk; AM 1240 - WATN, talk; and AM 1410 - WNER, which is a sports station. The city's FM stations consist of: FM 88.9 - WSLJ, NPR; FM 90.9 - WJNY, classical; FM 93.3 - WCIZ, classic hits; FM 97.5 - WFRY, country (Froggy); FM 100.7 - WOTT, rock; FM 103.1 - WTOJ, light adult contemporary; and FM 106.7 - WBDR, Pop.

Watertown television stations include WWNY/WNYF, (CBS 7/Fox 28, cable 4 and 2), WPBS (16 Watertown, 18 Norwood, cable 850, 851, 853) and WWTI (ABC 50/The CW 50.2, cable 5 and 31). Kingston and Syracuse locals are also significantly viewed in Watertown. Time-Warner is the incumbent cable provider for the Watertown area; DirectTV and Dish Network satellite are also readily available but neither currently carries Watertown's local broadcast stations.


Watertown claims that Rodman native Frank W. Woolworth conceived the idea of his mercantile chain while working there in 1878. Woolworth, employed as a clerk in Moore's Store, set up a successful clearance display of low-priced items. This led to his idea of a store specializing in fixed-price, cut-rate merchandise. Woolworth left Watertown and opened his first store in Utica, New York in 1879.

The Davis Sewing Machine Company originated in Watertown. It was predecessor to George P. Huffman's Huffy Corporation (NYSE: HUF), an American maker of bicycles and other sporting goods.

The Staten Island Yankees were based in Watertown until 1999.

The fictional town of Rivet Town in the movie "Robots" is based on Watertown because movie director Chris Wedge resided in Watertown during his teens.

Watertown was the setting for the 1990 Bette Midler film "Stella". While the movie was actually filmed in Canada, several local items were imported to appear in the film, including the local daily newspaper, taxi-cabs and shopping bags from the locally owned Empsalls department store.

Little Trees air fresheners were invented in Watertown in 1951. Now the city is home to the Car-Freshner Corporation headquarters and manufacturing plant.

Harry Chapin made a famous quote -- "I spent a week there one afternoon" -- about Watertown. His song "A Better Place to Be" was inspired by a story he heard in Watertown. Chapin mentioned both the quote and the origin of the song on his album Greatest Stories Live.


External links

* [http://watertown.craigslist.org/stp/769440793.html Join the change]
* [http://www.citywatertown.org City of Watertown, NY]
* [http://www.citywatertown.org/history/history_more.html City of Watertown History]
* [http://www.jeffersoncountyhistory.org/ Jefferson County Historical Society]
* [http://www.nyszoo.org/index.html New York State Thompson Park Zoo]
* [http://www.nps.gov/nr/ National Register of Historic Places]
* [http://whsny.homestead.com Watertown High Alumni Website]
* [http://www.essentialnyjobs.com/index.php?thes=0&regionkey=4&submit=GO&searchterms= Job Search for Watertown and Central New York]
* [http://jeffco.wikispaces.com Jefferson County & Watertown wiki]
* [http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/section/timesgoneby Jefferson County and Watertown stories of historical significance]

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