Chautauqua County, New York

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Chautauqua County, New York
Chautauqua County Courthouse, Mayville.jpg
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.
FoundedMarch 11, 1808
Largest cityJamestown
 • Total1,500 sq mi (3,885 km2)
 • Land1,062 sq mi (2,751 km2)
 • Water438 sq mi (1,134 km2), 29.20%
 • (2010)134,905
 • Density127/sq mi (49/km²)
Congressional district23rd
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
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This article is about the county in New York. For other uses of "Chautauqua", see Chautauqua (disambiguation).
Chautauqua County, New York
Chautauqua County Courthouse, Mayville.jpg
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.
FoundedMarch 11, 1808
Largest cityJamestown
 • Total1,500 sq mi (3,885 km2)
 • Land1,062 sq mi (2,751 km2)
 • Water438 sq mi (1,134 km2), 29.20%
 • (2010)134,905
 • Density127/sq mi (49/km²)
Congressional district23rd
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4

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.


Long part of the homeland of the Seneca Nation, one of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, Chautauqua County was organized by the state legislature during the development of western New York after the American Revolutionary War. It was officially separated from Genesee County on March 11, 1808.[3] This partition was performed under the same terms that produced Cattaraugus and Niagara counties. The partition was done for political purposes, but the counties were not properly organized for self-government, so they were all administered as part of 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[edit]

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
Est. 2012133,539−1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
2012 Estimate[1]

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[edit]

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
NamePartyTook officeLeft office
Joe GeraceDemocraticJanuary 1, 1975May 10, 1983
David Dawson (acting)DemocraticMay 10, 1983November 25, 1983
John A. GlenzerRepublicanNovember 25, 1983December 31, 1989
Andrew W. GoodellRepublicanJanuary 1, 1990December 31, 1997
Mark W. ThomasDemocraticJanuary 1, 1998December 31, 2005
Gregory J. EdwardsRepublicanJanuary 1, 2006November 15, 2013
Steve AbdellaUKNNovember 15, 2013December 31, 2013
Vincent W. HorriganRepublicanJanuary 1, 2014Incumbent
Chautauqua County Legislature
1Keith AhlstromDemocratic
2Shaun HeenanDemocratic
3Bob ScudderRepublican
4Janet KeefeDemocratic
5Terry NiebelRepublican
6George BorrelloRepublican
7John RunkleRepublican
8Pierre ChagnonRepublican
9Chuck NazzaroDemocratic
10PJ WendelRepublican
11Dave WilfongRepublican
12Beth Kresge (formerly Fred Larson)Democratic
13Paula DeJoyDemocratic
14Mark TarbrakeRepublican
15Lisa VanstromRepublican
16Ron LemonRepublican
17Jay Gould chairmanRepublican
18Dave HimeleinRepublican
19John HemmerRepublican

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[edit]

Chautauqua County, New York Divisions.png

Indian reservations[edit]

See also[edit]

Places named for Chautauqua County, New York[edit]


  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". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ "2010 US Census". Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  12. ^ 3 MORE COUNTIES ADOPT CHARTERS, The New York Times (New York, New York), 1973-11-25: 59 
  13. ^ Post Journal

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°18′N 79°25′W / 42.30°N 79.41°W / 42.30; -79.41