Thompson Park

From Jefferson County NY Wiki

Thompson Park[edit | edit source]

Thompson Park sits on Pinnacle Hill on the eastern edge of Watertown. The land on Pinnacle Hill was bought by John C. Thompson, president of the New York Air Brake Company. The project had begun in 1899 when a trustee received anonymous funds and instructions to purchase what was called "The Pinnacle" and then the whole hill, of nearly 700 acres for $100,000. The Olmstead Brothers, landscape architects famous for their design of Central Park in New York City, were commissioned to design the park. The anonymous donator was revealed as Thompson who had donated the money and commissioned the Olmsteads, Thompson then donated the park anonymously to the City of Watertown in 1903. Originally known as City Park, the city renamed it Thompson Park after Thompson's death, when his donation to the city became public.


Daniel Corbett; a machinist, boilermaker, and prominent member of the local Democratic Party; constructed the massive standpipe which stood in Thompson Park for many years (where the 10th Mountain Division Monument now is). It was a city landmark until it was replaced in the early 1970's.

Thompson Park has had a number of pools. The first was the wading pool which is now where the water tank is. You can still see the ring of concrete that made up the sides of the wading pool.

The original wading pool was finished in 1901 and first used for an ice skating rink. It would operate until the large standpipe water tower began leaking and work on the current 250,000 gallon water tower began in 1978 where the wading pool had been.

The regular swimming pool at the park was constructed in 1924 and closed, due to high repair costs, during the mid 2010's and was replaced in 2020 after being closed for many years.


Thompson Park boasts hundreds of acres of space, which includes a children's playground, public swimming pool, a golf course and tennis courts. There are also picnic areas, a large pavilion for gatherings, a zoo, numerous hiking trails (see link below) and paved trails and much wide open space. There are also many lookout points at the park, where people can get a bird's eye view of the city below.

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See Also[edit | edit source]

Thompson Park Bandshell

Entertainment & Recreation

New York State Zoo at Thompson Park

Current Thompson Park Pool information from the City of Watertown

Thompson Park Live Camera

Thompson Park Trails, Olmstead Trails with maps, directions, and photos