Barr, Henry(born: 1834 - died: 1902)
Henry Barr, a barber, was the first African American to build a commercial building in Watertown, NY, which he built prior to 1910 when there were 76 African Americans in the community.
Barr had arrived in Watertown in 1865; he was an escaped slave from Kentucky who had been living in Montreal before moving to New York. Barr had a chicken farm and owned a dry cleaners and clothes dying shop before building the three-story building named Barr Block.
Barr was a successful businessman and leader in the African American community. He was one of the first Board of Trustee members of what is today Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church. The Henry Barr Underground Railroad Community Development, Inc. was named in his honor.
For more see L. L. Scharer, "African-Americans in Jefferson County, New York; 1810-1910," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 19, no. 1 (Jan. 31, 1995), pp. 7ff.; and J. Golden, "Blacks have long had faith in Watertown," Watertown Daily Times, 2/26/1995, Lifestyles and Leisure section, p. G1.