Did you know that…

1. Chautauqua County separated from Genesee County in 1808, but was actually run by Niagara County until 1811.

2. That separation also produced Cattaraugus and Niagara Counties.

3. The Chautauqua Ridge is part of the Eastern Continental Divide. The Conewango Creek and Chautauqua Lake eventually empty into the Gulf of Mexico, while the rest of the county’s watershed ends up in the Great Lakes.

4. From 1980 to 2008, the county correctly voted for the winner of the U.S. Presidential Election. In 2012, the county voted for Mitt Romney.

5. There is one other Chautauqua County in the United States. Located in southeast Kansas, it’s named after our Chautauqua County. A politician instrumental in that county’s founding was born in Western New York.

6. Jamestown was once known as the “Furniture Capital of the World.” Jamestown is probably best known today as the birthplace of Lucille Ball.

via CardCow

via CardCow

7. The city was named after James Prendergast, who settled the area about the same time the county was formed.

8. William Bemus purchased the land on both sides of the lake in 1805 for $1.50. The east side is now known as Bemus Point.

9. Bainbridge Colby, Woodrow Wilson’s last Secretary of State, died in Bemus Point in 1950. His appointment outraged many as he had no prior diplomatic experience.

10. All but about three miles of Lake Chautauqua 41 mile shoreline is privately owned.

11. Though it resembles the other Finger Lakes, Lake Chautauqua is not considered a Finger Lake because it was likely formed by a different geological process than the others.

Lake Chautauqua from Lakewood beach (via Wikipedia)

Lake Chautauqua from Lakewood beach (via Wikipedia)

12. The exact meaning of the word Chautauqua has been lost to history. The Erie people were destroyed in the Beaver Wars before their language was fully known to Europeans.

13. The first Jamesway store opened in Jamestown in 1961. Before its bankruptcy in 1995, the chain operated 138 stores across the northeast.

14. In 2010 voters decided not to dissolve the village of Lakewood into the town of Busti: 849 voted against while 353 voted in favor.

15. It’s believed that Panama Rocks were once islands in a massive inland sea that covered the continent some 300 million years ago.

16. It’s also believed that both the rocks and the town got their name from someone who had visited the actual Panama isthmus connecting North and South America. It’s said the rock formations reminded him of Panama’s rocks.

17. Dunkirk is the westernmost city in New York state.

Aerial view of Dunkirk (Public Domain)

Aerial view of Dunkirk (Public Domain)

18. A 19th century politician named Samuel Latham Mitchill suggested renaming the United States by combining the word Freedom with a Latin ending: Fredonia. The effort failed though many smaller places took up the name, including Fredonia.

19. The original name of Fredonia was Canadaway, based on an Indian word meaning “among the hemlocks.”

20. For years, the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Braves (now the San Diego Clippers) held their training camps at SUNY Fredonia.

21. A 1933 Marx Brothers movie is set in a fictional country called “Freedonia.” Groucho saw the Dunkirk-Fredonia stop on a train ride from New York to Chicago and apparently liked the name.

22. There are more farms in Chautauqua County than any other county in New York state.

23. WJTN’s High School Bowl was first broadcast in 1962, making it the longest running high school academic competition in the country.

24. The Chautauqua Institution was founded in 1874 as a camp to train Sunday School teachers.

25. Palestine Park at the Chautauqua Institution is a scale model of the Holy Land. Every 1.75 feet is equivalent to one mile.

26. A short list of people who have spoken at Chautauqua’s Ampitheater: William Jennings Bryan, Booker T. Washington, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Robert F. Kennedy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt…

27. Arkwright was one of the first towns in the state to form a cheese cooperative.

28. A large fleet of steamboats was once the primary method of transportation between communities on the lake. That ended with the arrival of trolley lines.

29. Over 200 inches of snow falls on Chautauqua County annually. That rivals many Colorado ski towns.

Now you know!


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