John Meisnitzer was a Dunkirk resident and employee of  the Dunkirk Electric Department  and city Water Works.  He and his family lived at 208 Mullett Street.

An avid camera enthusiast, John took a great number of photographs around the city between the years 1898 and 1938, focusing on various city building projects, as well as ordinary events such as wind and snow storms, fires, demolitions, beach scenes, and more.  After John’s death, the collection became the possession of a person in the Finger Lakes Region, and when he consulted an antique dealer to know the negatives’ value, that dealer happened to be a former Dunkirk resident named Donald Naetzker. Naetzker recognized the value of the negative collection to the city and discussed that with the owner.  Naetzker was then allowed to return the collection to the city.  The collection of  more than 1000 negatives was donated to the museum in 1993 and constitutes a cross section of city life from the early 1900’s.

Please note individuals are not allowed to look at negatives from the collection  unless working on a work for publication, but that it is hoped in the near future they will be able to be viewed on the museum’s computer. A sampling of mages will also be added this website.

These are some of the photographs in his collection:
A full listing of the topics of the 1000 negatives will be listed in the near future.

Demolition of Women’s Union Building at 406 Central Avenue, August, 1934.
Schaefer Garage on Lake Shore Drive W. from March, 1937 to January 1938
WPA projects (various city locations) 1935-1936
Removal of street car tracks (various city locations) 1934
USS Taylor dredging Dunkirk Harbor, 1934
Erection of Lake Shore National Bank on Central Avenue, 1937
250 lb. sturgeon, 1933
Dunkirk Water Works and Filtration Plant, 1931-35
Lake Front scenes–building the breakwall-1935
Outboard Motor Race, Dunkirk Harbor, 1930
Dunkirk Airport, 1928-1936
Seawall Project, 1929
Disposal Plant Construction, 1929
Finke Brewery, 1937
Fred Koch beer truck, 1934
Erecting of the Stand Pipe, 1936
Tug Albert E. Baker, 1924
New Elks Club, 1930
Dotterweich Pond, 1930
Firemen’s Parade on Central Avenue, 1937
Tom Mix Circus on Lake Shore Drive West, 1936
Motorboat races at Memorial Park, 1936
Bedford Products, Dotterweich Brewery, 1937
Sacred Heart Church, 1928
Family of John Meisnitzer, 1937
Razing of Eastern Hotel, 1940
NY Central Wreck, 1927