From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

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.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Afro-Americans in New York life and history (periodical)
NKAA Source: Watertown daily times (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Barr, Henry,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-01-07 17:39:30