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Chautauqua County, New York

Chautauqua County, New York
Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville
Seal of Chautauqua County, New York
Map of New York highlighting Chautauqua County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded March 11, 1808
Seat Mayville
Largest city Jamestown
 • Total 1,500 sq mi (3,885 km2)
 • Land 1,062 sq mi (2,751 km2)
 • Water 438 sq mi (1,134 km2), 29.20%
 • (2010) 134,905
 • Density 127/sq mi (49/km²)
Congressional district 23rd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website .us.ny.chautauqua.cowww

Chautauqua County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York, south of Lake Erie. As of the 2010 census, the population was 134,905.[1] Its county seat is Mayville,[2] and its largest city is Jamestown. Its name may be a contraction of a Seneca Indian word meaning "bag tied in the middle". It includes part of the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca.

Chautauqua County comprises the Jamestown-Dunkirk-Fredonia, NY Micropolitan Statistical Area.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Adjacent counties/borders 2.1
    • Major highways 2.2
  • Demographics 3
  • Government and politics 4
  • Education 5
  • Cities, towns, villages, and hamlets 6
    • Indian reservations 6.1
  • See also 7
    • Places named for Chautauqua County, New York 7.1
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


Long part of the homeland of the Niagara County.

On February 9, 1811, Chautauqua was completely organized, and its separate government was launched.[4] This established Chautauqua as a county of 1,100 square miles (2,850 square km) of land. Chautauqua has not been altered since.


Chautauqua County, in the southwestern corner of New York State, along the New York-Pennsylvania border, is the westernmost of New York's counties. Chautauqua Lake is located in the center of the county, and Lake Erie is its northern border.

Part of the Eastern Continental Divide runs through Chautauqua County. The area that drains into the Conewango Creek (including Chautauqua Lake) eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico; the rest of the county's watershed empties into Lake Erie and via Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway into the North Atlantic Ocean. This divide, known as the Chautauqua Ridge, can be used to mark the border between the Southern Tier and the Niagara Frontier. It is also a significant dividing point in the county's geopolitics, with the "North County" being centered on Dunkirk and the "South County" centered on Jamestown each have their own interests.[5]

The county is generally composed of rolling hills and valleys, with elevations ranging anywhere between 1100 and 2100 feet, although the land within a few miles of Lake Erie is generally flat and at an elevation of 1000 feet or lower.[6] The lowest point in the county is Lake Erie, at 571 feet (174 meters), and the highest point is Gurnsey Benchmark at 2180 feet (664 meters).[7]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,500 square miles (3,885.0 km2). 1,062 square miles (2,750.6 km2) is land and 438 square miles (1,134.4 km2) (29.20%) is water.[8]

Adjacent counties/borders

Major highways


As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 139,750 people, 54,515 households, and 35,979 families residing in the county. The population density was 132 people per square mile (51/km²). There were 64,900 housing units at an average density of 61 per square mile (24/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.04% White, 2.18% Black or African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.73% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. 4.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.3% were of German, 15.1% Italian, 11.6% Swedish, 10.9% English, 9.3% Polish, 9.2% Irish and 5.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 93.0% spoke English and 3.8% Spanish as their first language.

There were 54,515 households out of which 30.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.90% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.00% were non-families. 28.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.50% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 16.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,458, and the median income for a family was $41,054. Males had a median income of $32,114 versus $22,214 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,840. About 9.70% of families and 13.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.30% of those under age 18 and 8.20% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2010 Census, there were 134,905 people in the county. The population density was 127 people per square mile (49/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.57% (124,875 people) white, 2.37% (3,197 people) African-American, 0.51% (688 people) Asian, 0.51% (689 people) Native American/Alaskan, 0.03% (34 people) Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.98% (2,669 people) other, and 2.04% (2,751 people) two or more races. The Hispanic/Latino population of any race was 6.11% (8,241 people).

In the county, the population was spread out with 21.83% of the population under the age of 18, 3.82% (5,155 people) ages 18 and 19, 7.50% (10,113 people) ages 20–24, 10.37% (13,985 people) ages 25–34, 18.83% (25,406 people) ages 35–49, 21.07% (28,419 people) ages 50–64, and 16.59% (22,381 people) over the age of 65. Of the population, 49.3% (66,509 people) were male and 50.7% (68,396 people) were female.[11]

Government and politics

Chautauqua County is one of 19 "charter counties" in New York, which grants the county greater leeway in conducting its own affairs.

Chautauqua County was governed by a board of supervisors until 1975, when a new county charter went into effect with provisions for a county executive and a 13-seat county legislature.[12] The county council currently consists of 19 members, down from 25,[13] each elected from single member districts.

Chautauqua County Executives
Name Party Took office Left office
Joe Gerace Democratic January 1, 1975 May 10, 1983
David Dawson (acting) Democratic May 10, 1983 November 25, 1983
John A. Glenzer Republican November 25, 1983 December 31, 1989
Andrew W. Goodell Republican January 1, 1990 December 31, 1997
Mark W. Thomas Democratic January 1, 1998 December 31, 2005
Gregory J. Edwards Republican January 1, 2006 November 15, 2013
Steve Abdella UKN November 15, 2013 December 31, 2013
Vincent W. Horrigan Republican January 1, 2014 Incumbent
Chautauqua County Legislature
District Legislator Party
1 Keith Ahlstrom Democratic
2 Shaun Heenan Democratic
3 Bob Scudder Republican
4 Janet Keefe Democratic
5 Terry Niebel Republican
6 George Borrello Republican
7 John Runkle Republican
8 Pierre Chagnon Republican
9 Chuck Nazzaro Democratic
10 PJ Wendel Republican
11 Dave Wilfong Republican
12 Beth Kresge (formerly Fred Larson) Democratic
13 Paula DeJoy Democratic
14 Mark Tarbrake Republican
15 Lisa Vanstrom Republican
16 Ron Lemon Republican
17 Jay Gould chairman Republican
18 Dave Himelein Republican
19 John Hemmer Republican

All of the county is in the 150th New York State Assembly district, represented by Andy Goodell. The entire county is within the bounds of New York's 23rd congressional district (served by Tom Reed) and the New York State Senate 57th district (served by Catharine Young). Prior to 2013, the county was part of New York's 27th congressional district. Prior to 2003, the county was part of New York's 31st congressional district (now the 29th), but was controversially redistricted out of that district and into what was the 27th, and was replaced in the 29th district by Rochester suburbs that had never before been part of the district. Chautauqua County, at the same time, joined southern Erie County and portions of the City of Buffalo in the 27th, areas that had also never been in the same district with each other. In both cases, the suburban additions were significantly more Democratic populations than the rural 31st was, leading to Democrats winning both portions of the divided territory and accusations of cracking-based gerrymandering. The 2012 redistricting process moved all of Chautauqua County into Goodell's assembly district, while the county also rejoined the former 31st (renumbered the 23rd) congressional district along with Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties.

Chautauqua County had been a perfect bellwether county from 1980 to 2008, correctly voting for the winner of each presidential election in all eight elections in that time frame. Its 2012 vote (in which it voted for Republican Mitt Romney instead of incumbent Democrat Barack Obama) was its first miss since 1976.


Jamestown Community College has two campuses in the county at Jamestown and Dunkirk. The State University of New York at Fredonia is located in the northern part of the county. Jamestown Business College offers two year degrees, certificates, and a four year degree in Jamestown.

Cities, towns, villages, and hamlets

Cities Towns Villages Hamlets

Indian reservations

See also

Places named for Chautauqua County, New York


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ New York. Laws of New York.;31st Session; Chapter 40; Sections1—2; Page 266.
  4. ^ Doty, William J., et al. ;Historic Annals of Southwestern New York.; 3 Volumes; New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company; 1940; Volume 1; Page 360.
  5. ^ Dean, Nicholas (2009-08-30). "Legislators Cite North-South Discrepancies", The Post-Journal, Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  6. ^ : "GNIS Feature Search for Chautauqua County, New York". 
  7. ^ "New York County High Points". 
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  11. ^ "2010 US Census". Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  13. ^ Post Journal

Further reading

  • Downs, John Phillips (1921). History of Chautauqua County, New York, and its people II. Boston: American Historical Society. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 

External links

  • Chautauqua County Government Website
  • Census information
  • Chautauqua County, New York History pages

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