Jun 20, 2016

Visiting Watertown, New York

Watertown may not seem like a typical tourist destination but there are interesting places to visit. Recently John and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Watertown had time to visit some of the local attractions.  Obviously there is shopping – a lot of it, but there is shopping everywhere.  Instead of shopping we visited the historic Paddock Mansion built between 1876 and 1878 by Edwin L. Paddock, a successful local banker.  The house is an interesting mix of design styles. Mrs. Paddock favored a Swiss chalet style while her husband liked the Tuscan villa look so the architect combined both styles.  Upon the death of Mrs. Paddock in 1922 the house and furnishings were left to the local historical society.  

Several rooms on the first floor have the original furniture on display.  The widely traveled Paddocks purchased many items during their travels including intricate Asian furniture.  One of the rooms is devoted to the military where they have a tumbler that was used to draw draft board numbers.  In the basement there is an incredible display of water wheels and other machinery.  Water and the power from them is what put Watertown on the map.  I was more interested in the early American kitchen. On the second floor one area is devoted to F. W. Woolworth who started the 5
cent stores. Woolworth worked in a store in Watertown and went out to create the iconic Woolworth stores.  He pioneered the idea of buying directly from the manufacturer thus cutting cost. He also put items out on display so customers could handle them without the assistance of a sales clerk.  His first Five-and-Ten Cent store was in Utica and was not a success but the one he opened in Lancaster, PA was and the rest is history.

There is a lovely English garden behind the house, a log cabin, the Pink School House, and a carriage house with a 1910 Babcock car which was made in Watertown. It was considered one of the finest cars at the time.  The Babcock car came in various models including runabouts, touring cars and limousines. 

Just a short walk down the street is the Paddock Arcade built in
1850. It is the oldest, continuously operating covered shopping mall in the United States. Paddock was inspired by the famed Beauharnais Arcade in Paris. Today there are several unique shops and restaurants. 

For a great view of the countryside take a drive to Thomson Park and Overlook Drive. The all-season park is a Frederick Olmstead park meaning that it was designed to be used by the people so there are trails, picnic tables, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a golf course, cross country ski trails, ice skating, and a zoo.  While small the zoo is home to elks, wolves, wolverines, otters, a children’s farm and other animals. The
park is famed by those looking for a cosmic reenergizing due to the park’s Ley lines. Some people believe that Ley lines are invisible veins of energy when can improve one’s health and wellbeing. 
On my list to visit the next time I am in Watertown is the 10th Mountain Division & Fort Drum Museum. In order to visit one needs to have valid DoD identification or complete and submit a form on their web site ahead of time. When approved passes will be available at the gate.