Historic Watertown

History's Lessons to Learn Our Past

Urban Renewal -
Many individuals have viewed Urban Renewal of the 1960's as the devastating blow to Downtown Watertown.  The triangular business block pitures to the right was one of the many casualties!  We also lost a church, the city opera house and city hall.  1960 & 1970 style building were built, but to a much smaller scale than promised.  Alex Duffy (Mr. Watertown) was quoted as saying "they sold them a deal, but had no backs."

Loss of the Hotel Woodruff -
At the center of Public Square - It's loss was literally mourned by many - the site has been referred to as the missing tooth and still has no development 30 + years later..

Reuse of Historic Structures -
During RFP for the Iron Block & Woodruff Sites - NO developer would propose any viable solution for new building on this site but many were interested if reuse was an opportunity!
(photo of the demolition of the Iron Block to the right)
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Other examples of areas that would have seen benefit from reuse,

The Beautiful City Hall Building -
Scores  of photos of proud public servants were taken on these steps - it was victim to urban renewal. (photo to the right)

Reuse of Historic Structures -
This is the J.B. Wise Building that stood on the Mill St entrance to Public Square.  Now a mismatch of one story buildings sits as an eyesore on this corner.

It is time to reinvest in our City's Core, Public Square and spread the success - throughout every neighborhood in the city!

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Historic Watertown
How can the City of Watertown avoid the disastrous mistakes of the past?

Is this type of destruction still happening?

Watertown once had a seminary for the training of future Catholic priests - Instead of renovating this structure for reuse the Order of the Sacred Heart decided to spend money to demolish it instead of making money from it's reuse!

One more smal tragedy that is stealing this town of its history!

What is next?

One look downtown sees the Masonic Temple and the Woolworth Buildings falling into disrepair.  They may be the next to fall to the wrecking ball!