Museum Overview


Collections & Archives

Request Research

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.

The 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.

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. They are also protected by a modern security and fire alarm system that instantly alerts city fire and police services in case of emergency.

Here you'll find a sampling of items contained in our archives and collections. Each of these collections provides a unique view into the history of the North Country.

For questions regarding a particular collection, please contact the Curator at (315) 782-3491.

Huested Collection

Herbert Huested was a prolific photographer during the early 20th century documenting people, buildings, and life in Jefferson County. The Huested Collection contains over 15,000 glass plate negatives from Huested's Studio and has been fully indexed.

Johnston Collection

The Johnston Studio was located in Clayton, New York and documented life and people living along the St. Lawrence River from 1864 to 1871. The Johnston Studio negatives collection contains 595 photos of named individuals, and more than 600 photos for which we have no record.

Gégoux Collection

During his New York years, Theodore Gégoux had studios in Carthage and Watertown, NY. He specialized in crayon and pastel on paper; oil on canvas, artist board, and wood; and water color. His work consisted mainly of portraits, seascapes, landscapes, florals, and fruit still life. The Gégoux Collection consists of 20 portraits and 2 landscapes.

Tyler Coverlet Collection

Harry Tyler was a prominent weaver in 19th century Jefferson County who is noted primarily for his bridal coverlets. Tyler produced coverlets and rugs from 1835 until his death in 1858. We currently have 44 Tyler coverlets in the collection.

Kinne Water Turbine Collection

The Kinne Water Turbine Collection is believed to be the largest collection of its type in the world. The collection was designated a Mechanical Engineering Heritage Collection by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1999.

Please email the curator at


For Genealogical requests, please contact the

Flower Memorial Library

Genealogical Department

at 315-785-7711