Home of the Jefferson County Historical Society
The Paddock Mansion
The Jefferson County Historical Society Museum is housed in the historic Paddock Mansion in downtown Watertown, New York. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, it was formerly the home of local banker Edwin L. Paddock and his wife, Olive (Wheeler).
The home was designed in the Eastlake tradition by architect John Hose, and combined Tuscan Villa elements "for him" and Swiss Chalet "for her". It was built between 1876 and 1878 by John Griffin. Mrs. Olive Paddock bequeathed the home to the Society in 1922, and it opened as a museum in 1924.
museum contains both Paddock family and local history exhibits spread throughout three floors and within three
outbuildings. The ground floor exhibits of all buildings are handicapped accessible. The Paddock Parlor, Library
and Galleries are all located on the first floor of
the Paddock Mansion. The sub-floor features the Comparison Kitchen,
Parlor Stove, Homespun, and Kinne Waterwheel exhibits. The Kinne
Exhibit is believed to be the largest of its kind anywhere, and has been
designated a National Landmark by the American Association of Mechanical
Engineers. The second floor features the Watertown,
Military, Victorian Pastimes, and Victorian Lifestyles exhibits. The
outdoor exhibits, open in summer, feature the Early American Barn,
Pioneer Cabin, and One-Room Schoolhouse.
Collections and Archives
The Society maintains a collection of over 100,000 artifacts, including letters, portraits, photographs, American Indian artifacts, militaria, textiles, clothing, farm implements, furniture, and even automobiles! Some of our more outstanding collections include Victorian costumes once owned by Emma Flower Taylor, the Tyler Coverlet Collection, Paddock Estate furniture, over 15,000 Huested glass plate negatives from the Huested Photography Studio, and large number of G.A.R- and Civil War- related artifacts. The collections are stored in our 4,500 sq. ft. curation facility which is atmospherically controlled and monitored. The collections are protected by a modern security and fire alarm system that instantly alerts city fire and police in case of emergency. More information on the Collections and Archives is available here...
The archives are open for research by appointment only. Contact the Collections Manager for an appointment. A $10/day access fee applies for non-members. This fee supports our staff's time helping you and the care of our archive collection. Please note: we cannot accept research requests via phone or e-mail. As much as we'd like to be able to help everyone, our limited staff and funding simply do not allow us to provide research. If you would like us to query our catalog system for you, please send a check for the $10 query fee along with a SASE. We'll return a listing of what we have in our archives pertaining to your subject. Please consult the Jefferson County Genealogy Society website or NNY Genealogy for help with research.
Plan on visiting our archives? The Archives FAQ page should answer many of the questions about our archives and research opportunities.