OldBaptist.jpgPublic Square has had a long and varied history. From the humble homesteads of Watertown's founding fathers to a burgeoning center of commerce, to the city's social, commercial and cultural center. Reinvention has always been a hallmark of Public Square: its reinvigoration after devastating fires in 1848 and 1849, to the architectural edifices built to reflect the enormous industrial wealth of the city in the late 19th century and adaptation to modern life and technology in the early and mid 20th century. Declining wealth and prosperity in Watertown also saw the decline of Public Square's importance in the late 20th century.

Public Square in the 21st century finds itself in a state of transition, once again struggling to reinvent itself. Maintaining its history and economic viability, while coming to terms with the needs of modern day life, like so many downtowns across the United States. Time will tell if that adaptability that served Public Square so well in the past, will serve it well in the future.

(For a listing of significant dates and events, see Public Square Timeline)


Beginnings: 1800-1850
Rebuilding: 1850-1900
Prosperity: 1900-1950
Decline: 1950-2000
New Beginnings: The 2000’s

See Also

Historic Structures in Watertown

References and External Links

For a panoramic photo with sound of the Square click here and here.
Birth of NNY Cities
City of Watertown Official Site
Hamilton's Child's Gazeteer
Marc's History of Jefferson County
WWNY: City Codes Officer Concerned About Safety At Paddock Arcade
WWNY: Watertown Fountain Destroyed
WWNY: Beginning Of The End For Watertown's Iron Block
WWTI: Woolworth Building To Close October 1s