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TOUR: Watertown: A Black River Valley Heritage Capital

June 16, 2023 @ 10:00 am 3:00 pm

Photo courtesy of Philip Kamrass.

Named for its position high on the Black River, Watertown has always been a city in motion. This heritage capital in Jefferson County features a phenomenal array of historic buildings, linked across architectural styles, time periods, and through the stories they tell about a diverse and resurgent North Country community. On this outing, we will spend the morning with guides from Neighbors of Watertown, a nonprofit dedicated to historic preservation and providing quality affordable housing. Together, we will explore Watertown’s iconic public square, including the meticulously restored Franklin Building, and learn about other revitalization efforts in the heart of the city. In the afternoon, we will visit the historic Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church. Built in 1909 by its congregants, this abolitionist-founded anchor of Watertown’s African American community served as a vibrant community center for over a century. Although it currently sits vacant, we will learn about the inspiring efforts of the Friends of Thomas Memorial Coalition, who are working hard to save the building and secure its future use. Our day will conclude with a tour of First Baptist Church and discussion of Watertown’s African American history.

This outing is led by Executive Director Reg Schweitzer and former board member Dr. Jason White of Neighbors of Watertown; Beth and Randy Crawford of Crawford & Stearns Architects and Preservation Planners; Shameika Ingram, founder of the Friends of Thomas Memorial Coalition and Preservation in Color; and Pastor Jeffrey Smith of the First Baptist Church. The tour starts at 10 AM and ends at 3 PM.

The fee is $55 for AARCH members and $65 for non-members. Lunch is included.