Woolworth Building

11 Public Square


“Although it is now the site of vacant office spaces, income-adjusted apartments, and a lone optometrist, the Woolworth Building was once a bustling department store.

In 1873, Frank Winfield Woolworth, a Rodman, New York resident and future founder of Woolworth’s Store, began an unpaid apprenticeship at Augsbury and Moore in Watertown, NY. (Augsbury and Moore was a dry goods store that once stood on the same location as the current Woolworth Building.) After his apprenticeship ended, Woolworth became a salaried clerk with Augsbury and Moore, earning $10 dollars a week. In 1878, during his time as a clerk, Woolworth came up with the idea for the five-and-dime store.

By 1905, Augsbury and Moore had become a Woolworth syndicate; something similar to a franchise store. After opening Woolworth’s in Utica, New York, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and New York City, FW Woolworth returned to Watertown to take over the Augsbury and Moore location.”
Tlo read the compete article by Kristen Semento go to: http://www.upstatehistorical.org/items/show/67
(UpstateHistorical – A project by Thomas A. Guiler is an interactive website that brings the rich history of Upstate New York to life for tourists, residents, and anyone interested in learning more about this important region.)

“In 1916, Woolworth purchased the American Building in Watertown, which housed the store in which he began his career. Woolworth planned to demolish this structure, and build a grander building in its place. Woolworth’s death in 1919 initially halted these plans, but the Woolworth Corporation eventually decided to go ahead with his plans, and the new six story Woolworth Building opened its doors in 1921.”
From Wikipedia. to read more go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._W._Woolworth_Building_(Watertown,_New_York)

Woolworths, in addition to being among the most impressive buildings in Watertown now, the company had been involved nationally in significant historic events – specifically the site of lunch counter sit-ins in the 1960s that forever linked “Woolworths & Lunch Counter & Civil Rights Protest.”

“Sitting for Justice: Woolworth’s Lunch Counter
On February 1, 1960, four African American college students sat down at a lunch counter at Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, and politely asked for service. Their request was refused. When asked to leave, they remained in their seats. Their passive resistance and peaceful sit-down demand helped ignite a youth-led movement to challenge racial inequality throughout the South.”
To read more about lunch counter sit-ins go to the Smithsonian Institution web site: https://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/6-legacy/freedom-struggle-2.htmlF\