Jefferson County Historical Society reopens Saturday

Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 2:23 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Getting ready to celebrate its 100th birthday, the Jefferson County Historical Society is reopening its doors this weekend after being closed for the last couple of years due to Covid and construction.

“We’ve had people that come on vacation every summer and they were very saddened to see that we were closed for so long. So we’ve had quite the excitement,” said Toni Engleman, executive director.

More than $1 million worth of renovation work has taken place. The historical society’s building has new roofs and an elevator.

As the doors reopen, items freshly pulled out of the archive room will be on display.

Plus, the historical society just added to its collection of Civil War artifacts.

“There are almost 4,000 different units of these pension paper works that we have from different people that served in the north country in the civil war,” said Engleman.

The museum is in a Washington Street mansion that once belonged to Edwin and Olive Paddock, who were bankers and entrepreneurs as well as one of the founding families of Watertown. Edwin’s father, Loveland Paddock, built the Paddock Arcade.

“When Olive passed, she wanted that history to be shared forever. So it is very important to keep this mansion open, not only for the Paddocks, but for all the north country because it does have so much history,” said Engleman.

The grand opening is this Saturday from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

The Jefferson County Historical Society says several exhibits are in the works for this fall.