The walking tour will be part of the yearly lecture series program and the ongoing celebration of the Oswego County Bi-Centennial year. Often called East Park by locals, the official name of the park located in the center of the east side of the city is Washington Square. It is bordered between East Bridge and East Oneida Streets and East Second and East Fourth Streets. The tour will cover approximately two street blocks from the center of the park toward East Third and Mohawk Streets. The tour will begin in the center of the park at the Civil War Monument facing East Bridge Street. Comfortable shoes are recommended. In case of rain,the tour will be held on Sunday, September 25 at the time and location.
Justin White, board president of the historical society, will be the guide of the tour. The history of the park and the surrounding public buildings, religious structures, and residential homes will be the focus of the tour. The variety of architectural styles and the background of some architects that designed structures will also be mentioned. "Washington Square Historic District is so unique in its original concept of a public square in the middle of a town with the character of a New England-style village. Early parks were typically surrounded with public buildings, churches and fine homes," said White. "Many of these structures still stand. Several of the buildings and homes have many fascinating histories, including ones that have confirmed documented connections to the Underground Railroad movement." The Heritage Foundation of Oswego County was proudly able to have the park and the surrounding neighborhood properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. The tour is free and open to the public.
Prospective historical society members are also encouraged to attend to help the society continue to preserve the area’s rich local history. The Oswego County Historical Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1896 and dedicated to the preservation, promotion and interpretation of the historical resources of the county. The society owns and operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum at 135 E. Third St. in Oswego, a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is open for tours Thursday through Saturday from 1 – 5 pm and other times by appointment. For more information contact the museum during regular hours at 343-1342.