Jefferson County Historical Society poised to reopen after 3.5 years

Jefferson County Historical Society
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 6:45 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - It’s been a long three and a half years of restoration work at the Jefferson County Historical Society.

“In the three and a half years, we’ve had a brand-new roof put on, so no more leaks,” executive director Toni Engleman said. “We’ve also had an elevator put in so people who couldn’t navigate the stairs now have access to all that the museum has to offer.”

The building has been a staple in Watertown long before it was home to the county’s historical artifacts. In 1876, it was home to the Paddock family, who were instrumental in building up Watertown.

“This was the original home of Edwin and Olive Paddock,” Engleman said. “Edwin passed away in 1909 and when Olive passed away in 1922, she bequeathed the mansion to the Historical Society to be used as a museum.”

All these years later, the mansion still represents the best parts of Jefferson County. And by the end of this month, the public can once again come enjoy the artifacts.

“We plan on having a sneak peek June 10 so people can come in and kind of see why we’ve been closed three and a half years.”

And there are already events being planned for the entire property.

“We do have events planned for the gardens, we have a Teddy Bear Tea coming up for children, and we also have an art and craft fair coming up,” Engleman said.

There is still a lot of work to be done — artifacts to be put away, dust to clean — so if anyone wants to volunteer, they can reach out to the Historical Society at 315-782-3491.

“Everyone that comes here learns something new about Jefferson County,” Engleman said.