Settlers came here in the early 1800s to use the power from the Black River for industry. On April 13, 1852 Frank Winfield Woolworth was born in the tiny village of Rodman, ten miles south of Watertown; he attended business college in the city and worked as a stockboy in a general store on Watertown's Public Square in 1873 before attempting to launch his own "five-cent store" in Utica in 1878. That short-lived effort fared poorly, but a Woolworth "five and dime" in Lancaster (Pennsylvania) in 1879 succeeded.
Watertown is only a few miles from Fort Drum, home of the US Army 10th Mountain Division, the region's largest employer. It is home to various manufacturing industries (the "Car Freshener" scented air freshener is a local invention) and to Jefferson Community College.
Today. Watertown has a beautiful, historic downtown center.
Watertown is about 75 miles north of Syracuse on US 11 or Interstate 81 (exits 45, 46, and 47). Adirondack Trailways Service and Greyhound provide bus service, while the closest Amtrak stations are in Rome or in Syracuse.
- Adirondack Trailways, 540 State St., toll-free: .
- Greyhound, 540 State St. (North Dr Inn Theatre, NY Route 3E), toll-free: .
- 1 Watertown International Airport (ART IATA), Dexter NY 13624, ☎ . Twice-daily service to Philadelphia; airport otherwise primarily serves general aviation and charters.
- CitiBus. Provides a limited local bus service on three daytime routes.
- New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, ☎ . 10AM-5PM daily (Apr-Oct). 32-acre Thompson Park Zoo exhibits species that are or were native to New York State, including wolverines, black bears, eagles, mountain lions, Canada lynx and grey wolves. $9/adult.
- Washington Street Arboretum, 200 block of Washington Street. Over 30 different varieties and species of trees.
- Black River. Kayaking and whitewater rafting. Three rafting companies (Adirondack, Bob's, Hudson), seven miles of whitewater, fourteen sets of class III and IV rapids. Riverfront walking trails at the Veteran's Memorial Riverwalk, Waterworks and Marble Street Park; bike, hike or fish along the shoreline.
- Dry Hill Ski Area, 18160 Alpine Ridge Rd, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . Wintertime tubing, snowboarding and downhill skiing.
- Thompson Park, entrances off Gotham St, Academy St and Franklin St. 7AM-9PM. A historic Olmsted Creation with scenic views, children's playground, pool, golf course, zoo, picnic area. On or near the 4th of July, the Potsdam-based Orchestra of Northern New York presents the 1812 overture with cannons as a concert in the park, followed by fireworks.
- Farmers' Market, Washington Street (by City Hall). Open Wednesdays; everything from fresh fruit & vegetables to arts & crafts,
- Salmon Run Mall, 21182 Salmon Run Mall Loop West, ☎ . 9:30AM-9PM daily, 11AM-6PM Sunday. Mall with stores including Target, Lowe's, near I-81, popular with Canadian cross-border shoppers.
- Art's Jug, 820 Huntington St., ☎ . 4pm-9:30pm. Italian.
- Black River Coffee Co, 4 Paddock Arc, ☎ . Café, wi-fi.
- Church Street Diner, 107 Church St, Carthage 13619, ☎ . 6am-2pm. Burgers, sandwiches, chicken, breakfast foods.
- Jreck Subs, 1201 Arsenal St., ☎ . Watertown-based submarine sandwich chain, over forty locations in northern New York.
- Stefanos Pizza and Restaurant, 258 State St, Carthage 13619, ☎ . Italian/Sicilian.
- Maggie's on the River, 500 Newell St, Watertown 13601, ☎ . Sports bar and restaurant, casual.
- Water is plentiful in the region.
Postal service is available from USPS at 232 Commerce Park Drive 13601-9900 (phone +1 315-786-5900); commercial parcel receiving service is available from the UPS store at 968 Bradley Street (phone +1 315 755-2028, fax 755-2030).
Wi-fi is available at most fast food and coffee shop chains, or at the public library: