The Clock Grill - now Black River Adventurers Shop, 129 Mill Street


Early in 2009 the owners of the flatiron-shaped building, that now houses Black River Adventurers Shop, pressure-washed the building's brick exterior–perhaps prior to painting or to just expose the original brick. One result of the work was to expose the lettering of long-ago painted signs from the building's on-again, off-again life as a bar and grill, produce market and Salvation Army shelter.

1912 is the first year with a clear listing in one of the Watertown City Directory books (in the reference section of the Flower Memorial Library), for 129 Mill Street being used as a “Saloon” and operated by John Schwanke. 131 Mill Street (the same building), was the Salvation Army Hall and Shelter. 133 Mill Street (perhaps the basement of the building?), was Haberle Brewing. Of note - a religion-based shelter situated between a saloon and a brewer.

In 1914, 129 Mill St. was listed as the New York Cafe, then a saloon operated by Ralph Gallo by 1917, “Patsy Misercola Soft Drinks” by 1920 with the Salvation Army still at 131 Mill Street.

In 1922, the Watertown Fruit Company took over the entire building for a wholesale produce business; lettering from that business can now be seen on the east side of the building (see photos).

Mill Street side, showing the word “PRODUCE.” on the right between the second and third floors. There appears to have been lettering at the top and bottom of the brick wall, but it's too deteriorated to read.

In 1935, the 24-year run of Bart's Tavern began in 129 Mill Street and lasted through several owners. In 1959, William T. and Rosie Chase began the Clock Grill and lived in quarters upstairs. The venerable Clock Grill (known as the city's “black” bar), lasted 28 years until becoming vacant in 1987.

There's no way of telling from which establishment the lettering on the south (Black River Parkway, formerly City Center Drive) side wall came. Specials, Italian spaghetti, turkey and chicken dinners, steaks, chops and fish fry were some of the featured offerings still readable.

There are other areas of lettering on the south side and over the main entrance. Possibly the Watertown Fruit Company banner between the second and third floors extended along this wall as well.


Jefferson County's Nightlife

  • the_clock_grill.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/12/06 17:17
  • (external edit)