DUNKIRK Between 1850 and 1870


(1) Otis Spillman founded a fire insurance company. C

(2) The Roman Catholics purchased property at the northeast corner of Second and Robin Streets extending to Plover Street, consisting of two houses. Part of the property was a gift, and the rest was purchased for $700. The plot was 30’ x 100’. One house was converted for use as a chapel, the other used for a school and a rectory for Father William Lennon. The church name was first given as the “Seven Dolors of Mary,” but was known as St. Mary’s. HD, OC

(3) A newspaper, the Dunkirk Daily Journal, was started by W.L. Carpenter, but lasted only two months. The paper was then changed to a weekly, called the Dunkirk Journal, and began publication in May (later it was called the Chautauqua Journal). CG

(4) St. John’s German Evangelical Church was established by the Rev. Mr. Voight of Buffalo. (Located on Lion St.?) D

(5) An Episcopal Church was organized July 29. The vote to organize was on June 24, the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist. Thus, the church was known as the Church of St. John the Baptist, Episcopal. There were 30 families in the parish, and the first pastor was the Rev. Charles Arey. Services were first held in the brick hotel, or Loder House, on Center Street. E, C, OC

(6) The first locomotive to arrive in Dunkirk was brought by Horatio G. Brooks on November 28.

It came by way of the Erie Canal to Buffalo, thence by schooner to the Dunkirk Harbor, a two-months journey. This engine was to be used in the construction work at this end of the New York & Erie Line. Built in Boston, it was called “The Dunkirk,” with the number 90 (some authorities give this information under date of

January 3, 1851). The New York and Erie Railroad had stopped work on its original route in 1842, made additional surveys, and laid out a new location. It worked out from Dunkirk at the western end, and continued from the eastern end through the state at the same time, resuming its track-laying early in 1850. E, HD

(7) William Hilton came to Dunkirk from England, and started a brick-making business at 253 W. Front Street.

(8) A Board of Health was established, with three members and a health physician.

(9) Planks were laid on what was known then as Fredonia Road. Starting at the lake and going south throughDunkirk to Fredonia, it was continued as far as the Town of Ellicott. It included Center Street in Dunkirk, and what was later known as Central Avenue between Dunkirk and Fredonia. It was called the Plank Road at this time.


(1) A report of county population was 50,943. Several sources gave Dunkirk’s population as 1000 or 1500 or as much as 2980. This was a great increase over the previous year. Work on the railroad drew many men to the village, including many Irish and German people. GB, et al.

(2) The first commercial fishing operations were begun in the harbor.

(3) The Roman Catholics purchased the site for St. Mary’s cemetery. OC

(4) The New York & Erie Railroad was completed, the last tie being laid in April. The railroad was opened on May 14, when a train made half of the journey from the Hudson River to Dunkirk. Continuing the next day, the train arrived in Dunkirk with Charles Sherman, a Dunkirk resident, as engineer for the second half of the trip. The railroad was 445 ½ miles long, with wide gauge tracks 6’ in width. This was the longest railroad then in existence, and the first from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Many notables made the trip, including President Fillmore and his Cabinet, Daniel Webster, Seward, and Douglas, etc. There were festivities for three days, with crowds estimated at fifteen to twenty thousand gathered for the event. Many detailed accounts of the coming of the railroad are extant. President Fillmore purchased a copy of the Dunkirk Journal, buying it from the owner’s young son, E.K. Thompson, Jr. and giving him $.25. The President and other important guests were entertained at Loder House, recently completed and named for the railroad’s president. It was a four-story brick building with a portico of granite columns and a central air-well which provided light for the inside rooms. The entire railroad project had cost $23,500,000 and great predictions were made for the development of the country along its route. Passenger and freight service on a regular basis started May 19. Later in the year, the telegraphic system of dispatching trains was adopted. The train was in two sections with a total of a dozen cars. Fireworks and bonfires added to the festivities. President Fillmore and Daniel Webster were also guests at the home of Hanson Risley at 411 Center Street. Several railroads were in existence; namely, the Baltimore & Ohio, the Camden & Amboy, the Mohawk & Hudson, a branch of the Delaware & Hudson, and others; all of them much shorter than the new New York & Erie. E, C, et al.

(5) The Erie Hotel was opened (in 1866, a brick building was put up to replace this early hotel, and using the same name).

(6) The first lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized as Dunkirk Lodge #236. HD, OM.

(7) The New York & Erie Bank was organized. E

(8) A meeting of Freemasons was held in the fall, with the intention of petitioning for an organization at a later date. OM

(9) The New York & Erie Railroad built its repair shops in Dunkirk. Included was a roundhouse for twenty engines. OM

(10) Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italian statesman, visited the Camp family at their home at 115 Elk Street. He had been banished by the Italian government and was spending some time in America, engaged in the soap and candle-making business. He wished to see the improved methods which the Camp brothers had adopted in their factory. C, OC


(1) The Buffalo & State Line Railroad, which had been incorporated in 1849, was opened from the Pennsylvania state line to Dunkirk on January1, and continued on to Buffalo on February 25, making 69 miles of track. It had been planned to run this railroad through Fredonia, but Dunkirk was the choice of the directors.(Subsequent consolidation of various roads between Buffalo and Chicago resulted in the Buffalo & State Line becoming part of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway. A great amount of business grew up for the line) E, C, OM

(2) Oran Monroe came to Dunkirk from Ontario and set up a daguerreotype gallery at the corner of Center andSecond Streets. C, HD, OM

(3) A frame building, 40’ x 24’, was erected for the Episcopal Church. Costing $1500, it was located on the east side of Center Street between Third and Fourth Streets. C, OM

(4) The American Express Company opened an office in Dunkirk. HD

(5) On July 23, a lot at 318 Buffalo Street was purchased as the site for St. Mary’s Church. It cost $1100, bought from T. & E. Lord. HD

(6) St. Mary’s Church purchased four acres of land from Ezra Williams for $800 for a cemetery (1851?). HD

(7) St. John’s German Evangelical Church erected a building. The first pastor was the Rev. Mr. Strauss. D

(8) In October, a fire destroyed about ten buildings along the north side of Front Street between Center and Buffalo Streets. OC

(9) The Heyl Grocery was established at the corner of Center and Second Streets. GB

(10) A Lodge of Freemasons received a dispensation on December 30, preparatory to obtaining a charter. OM

(11) G.P. Saunders started a milling and flour business. OM

(12) A Village Seal was obtained by the president and accepted by the Board of Trustees. The words “Village of Dunkirk Seal” and the device of a locomotive were on the face of it.


(1) The Order of Masons was chartered on June 11, under the name Meridian Sun Lodge No. 301. HD, OM

(2) The Methodists acquired a lot at 27-29 E. Fourth Street, the gift of Mr. & Mrs. Hanson Risley, and put up a

frame building 24’ x 40’. The Dunkirk group, which had been included in a circuit with Fredonia and Portland, was given a separate appointment with its own minister, the Rev. Dean C. Wright. M, GB, OC

(3) A fire department for the city was formed on February 3, and on February 19, a chief was elected. For the previous two years there had been volunteer firemen but no organized unit. The New York & Erie Railroad had a fire engine for the protection of its shops and it provided a fire engine as a gift for the city’s use. The new department had two companies, Hook & Ladder Company No. 1 for which Engine No. 1 was purchased (Company No. 1 was later known as Pioneer Hook & Ladder Company). The other company was first called Engine Company No. 2 then named Loder. These two companies were located in a building at the corner of

W. Second and Eagle Streets. A short time later Engine Company No. 1 was organized, the result of a planning meeting held December 21, 1852. A supply of implements was acquired, including axes and hooks for razing burning buildings. OM

(4) The cornerstone of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church was laid on July 24. HD, OC

(5) St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized and the worshipers met in a small building on Center Street near Fourth Street. GB

(6) The Baptist congregation began building a church at E. Fourth and Buffalo Streets, southeast corner. An October storm blew off part of the roof and broke down some of the wall (the work was continued the following year).

(7) As the school on Third Street was too small for the growing population of students, the academic classes were moved to Concert Hall, a three-story building on Center Street.


(1) The Methodist church building at 27 E. Fourth Street was dedicated January 1. OM

(2) The Western Union Telegraph Company was formed by the consolidation of three companies which had previously been in operation. HD

(3) St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church was opened for worship on March 17, although the building was not completed until November. Made of native brick, it cost $9435.70, including the pews and an organ. There was an iron cross on the steeple, 140’ from the ground. This was the first Roman Catholic Church in Chautauqua County, and was dedicated to the Seven Dolors of Mary. It was also spoken of as Our Lady’s Nativity. The Rev. Peter Colgan was the first pastor. The building was blessed and dedicated November 12. The Church conducted a school in its building at W. Second and Robin Streets, with lay teachers in charge (later, a school was opened in the basement rooms of the Buffalo Street building). E, C, HD, et al.

(4) The Eastern House at the corner of Third and Leopard Streets was destroyed by fire, as was the Ward Hotel and some other small buildings. HD, OM

(5) The Lake Shore Banking Company was established. It was a state bank, founded by T. R. Colman, and had a capital of $100,000. It was first located on the north side of Front Street, then purchased the building at the northwest corner of Center and Third Streets which had been owned by the New York & Erie Bank which moved to Buffalo (1855). The city’s first bank, started in 1844, had also ceased its existence. DE, OM

(6) The efforts of the fire department to fight fires were aided by the construction of a 600-barrel capacity cistern on Center, south of Second Street, in August.

(7) The New York & Erie Railroad built a grain elevator on the Center Street pier.


(1) The city’s population was listed as 4754 (Jamestown 2625; Fredonia 2076). OC

(2) E.S. Colman, H. Colman, & G.P. Saunders bought the flour mills at 46-48 E. Front Street. HD

(3) The German Methodist Episcopal Church was organized. The Rev. William Buettner was the first pastor. OM

(4) The Baptist Church building was completed and dedicated on June 14. It was located on the southeast corner of E. Fourth and Buffalo Streets. OC, DS

(5) The New York & Erie Railroad ran five trains daily between New York City and Dunkirk. Steamboats carried rail passengers from Dunkirk to Cleveland, Toledo, and Detroit. Dunkirk was called the “Gateway to the West.” OM


(1) St. John’s Evangelical Church did not hold regular services at this time (sometimes called Lutheran?). OC

(2) Timothy Brick built the Farmer’s Exchange Hotel on the northeast corner of Third and Lion Streets. OC

(3) The year 1856 is given by these sources as the date for the erection of the brick building of the Baptist Church at E. Fourth and Buffalo Streets. E, C

(4) A musical association, the Dunkirk Germania Verein, was started. Germania Hall was located on the east side of Center Street near Second. C, M

(5) The Eastern Hotel was constructed at Main and Third Streets. It replaced the Eastern House at Third and Leopard which was destroyed by fire in 1854. OC

(6) The Dunkirk Press & Western Argus, which had been started as the Western Argus, in Westfield in the early part of the year, was moved to Dunkirk. CG

(7) The organization of St. John’s German Evangelical Church occurred in October (November?). Services were held in the city building on E. Third Street. E, C, OM

(8) On October 19, a fire destroyed the Risley Block on the north side of E. Front Street, with a loss of $30,000.

Several of the same businesses had been burned out in that location in 1852. They included Loeb’s Hotel and the offices of the Dunkirk Tribune and Dunkirk Journal. Some of these businesses then located on Center Street. OM

(9) Point Gratiot Lodge No. 181, IOOF, was organized on December 26. The ritual was conducted in German. OM, HD

(10) John Madigan established a lumber business at 408 Buffalo Street. HD


(1) The German Catholics, who had been worshipping with St. Mary’s congregation, formed a society, bought a lot 60’ x 100’ at 26 Ruggles Street for $300, and started building a frame church. First known as St. George’s,it was later called the Church of the Sacred Heart. E, C, HD, OM

(2) Because of the noise of the trains and also the transfer of goods from one train to another directly across from the Presbyterian Church on E. Third Street, the congregation sought a better location. The railroad provided land at 19 W. Fourth Street in exchange for the property on E. Third Street and moved the church building to the new site. OW, OM

(3) School No. 1, first called the Dunkirk Union Free School, was built at 13 E. Fourth Street, corner of Buffalo Street. A state law of 1853 allowed for free schools. The school building on E. Third Street had been outgrown and the academic pupils had been meeting in Concert Hall for several years. The new school provided space for primary, intermediate, grammar, and academic departments. The building, of brick, cost $9000 (later when this school became overcrowded, the primary department was moved temporarily to the basement rooms of the Baptist Church across the street). OC, OM, DS, OW

(4) The old Third Street school building was rented by the school authorities to the village and served various purposes. OM

(5) One of several “select” schools was opened and conducted by the Blackham family at the southwest corner of E. Second and Elk Streets. Several advanced subjects in addition to academic classes were taught. Other schools of this nature were located as follows: one on Center Street, east side, south of Fourth Street; one on W. Third Street; one on the northeast corner of Center and Front; and one on W. Fourth Street, north side, between Center and Eagle Street. Dates of these schools are unknown. Mrs. Thayer taught the one on W. Third Street; Cornelia Bradley the one on Front St. DS, OM


(7) The Loder House burned on May 8 and was a complete loss. It had been known variously as the Brick Hotel and the Mansion House.

(8) The lighthouse at Point Gratiot was modernized by the installation of a Fresnel lens which produced a fixed and flashing light. A French type of lens, the light could be seen under ordinary circumstances for a distance of 18 miles. OM

(9) The American Hotel, also known as the Steamboat Hotel, located at the southeast corner of Center and E. Front Streets, was destroyed by fire on December 24. OM

(10) C. Sullivan started a shoe store. (Center Street ?)


(1) St. Mary’s orphan asylum and school was incorporated January 11, having been started the previousyear. E, DS, OC, CG

(2) On February 22, the Sisters of St. Joseph came to Dunkirk to take charge of St. Mary’s school and orphanage. The orphanage contained an educational department. The first building was a rented house on the east side of Buffalo Street (St. Joseph’s orphanage for boys, also?). E, C, OC

(3) The Dunkirk Union Free School District was established by act of the State Legislature on March 17. On March 20, the Board of Education was organized. Eight teachers were employed, their salaries ranging $4.50 to $6.00 a week. a school tax was levied in the community. E, OC, HD, OM

(4) The Methodists, under a reincorporation on May 8, changed from the Wesleyan Society of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Dunkirk to the Trustees of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Dunkirk. The building on E. Fourth Street was replaced by a larger structure, reflecting the growth of the city during the previous five years. HD, E, D, C, OC, M

(5) An armory was built by the State at 342 Center Street, corner of E. Fourth Street. The site, purchased by the city, cost $2300. The cornerstone was laid May 20. It became the headquarters for Company D & F of the 68th Chautauqua Regiment (the building was dedicated two years later. In 1875, it became the village hall). C, OM

(6) St. John’s German United Evangelical Church put up a frame building at 71 E. Fourth Street, corner of Leopard, at a cost of $1000. C, CG

(7) Miner’s Bank was started. GB

(8) For more efficient fighting of fires in the community, additional cisterns were built. The Center Street cistern, built in 1854 with a 600-barrel capacity, was enlarged to 5000. One was located at Fourth and Buffalo Streets and one at Fourth and Lion Streets, both having 5000-barrel capacity. OM

(9) The German Catholics completed the building of their first church at a cost of $1,693, and it was dedicated to St. George on February 15 (later known as Sacred Heart Church). Dimensions were 70’ x 35’. Franciscan Fathers came every two weeks to conduct services (see 1863, item 5, for arrival of Passionist Fathers). OM


(1) The Episcopal Church building, located on the east side of Center Street between Third and Fourth Streets, was consecrated on January 22, being then free of debt. OC

(2) The German Methodist Episcopal Church erected a small frame structure, at a cost of $1200, at the southwest corner of Fourth and Deer Streets (a parsonage was also built. Date?). CG

(3) The Methodist Episcopal Church dedicated its new building at 29 E. Fourth Street. M, OM

(4) A severe frost on the morning of June 4 destroyed much farm vegetation and fruit. OM

(5) Meridian Sun Lodge No. 301 changed its name to Irondequoit Masonic Lodge No. 301 on June 24. OM

(6) St. John’s Evangelical Church building at E. Fourth and Leopard Streets was dedicated on October 30. OC

(7) The Town of Dunkirk was formed from Pomfret on November 17, with an area of 6,632 acres. This was the smallest town in the county. The village of Dunkirk occupied half of its territory. C, OW, HD, CG

(8) The County Board of Supervisors established the spelling of Chautauqua, rather than the earlier Chautauque.

(9) The Chautauqua County Agricultural Corporation purchased property containing 25 acres on the west side of Central Avenue from Frank May for $2388.68. Plans were made for a floral hall and a mechanics hall to be erected. The first construction was a half-mile race track. Later, horse and cattle barns were built, and a wooden fence put up around the property (see 1901, item 27, for building of Floral Hall).


(1) School Number One proved inadequate for the number of pupils wishing to attend, so a room was obtained in the Eastern House on Elk Street north of Third Street, and this was opened for classes on January 9. OC

(2) The Passionist Fathers, Order of St. Paul of the Cross, took charge of St. Mary’s parish on April 19. This was a congregation of 800. It was the second Passionist congregation in America. HD, OM

(3) Dunkirk’s population was about 6000. OM

(4) The Dunkirk Press & Western Argus ceased publication. CG

(5) The Dunkirk Union was started by L. P. Osmer and C. E. Daily. It was located on Front Street. CG

(6) Abraham Lincoln traveled through the city on his way to make a campaign speech at Cooper Institute. He stepped from the train here and made a brief speech. OM

(7) The first St. Mary’s School was started on April 29, classes being held in the church basement. The small school at Second and Robin Streets became overcrowded and was given up.

(8) J. A. Lenz had a cabinet shop, and manufactured the first bathtubs to be made in the vicinity. They were made of wood, with a zinc lining, and had an upholstered cover which opened by means of hinges. They could be rolled to any location in the house. Mr. Lenz put up the building at 400-402 Central Avenue.


(1) F. A. Peters built the Peters Hotel at the triangle of Lion Street and Railroad Avenue.

(2) The Heyl Block was built, and the Heyl Grocery located in it. Mr. Heyl had conducted a grocery

since 1852. GB, OM

(3) The New York State Legislature changed the Militia to the National Guard. Dunkirk had raised several companies of men who were taking part in the Civil War. OM

(4) The Monastery of St. Mary’s was blessed on July 20 upon completion of the building. Six theological students and a professor came from Pittsburgh to be the first residents, in addition to the Passionist Fathers. OM

(5) The previously unfinished tower of St. Mary’s Church was extended upward six feet and a spire was added at a cost of $900. OM (Cf. 1854, item 3)

(6) The fire hall of Loder Hose Company Number 2 on E. Front Street was destroyed by fire. The pumper was safely removed but the building was a complete loss. OM


(1) On February 16, Abraham Lincoln stopped on his way to his first inauguration, and gave a speech from the car platform, just west of the Erie Station and east of the center of Lion Street. C

(2) The Dunkirk Basket Machine Company was founded with Thomas Flesher as proprietor, and located at

64 E. Front Street, HD

(3) A dentist, Dr. Byron Rathbun, set up practice at 215 Center Street. OM

(4) The monastery of St. Mary’s Church was established May 26. On property at 328 Buffalo Street, a building was started, and the cornerstone laid and blessed May 26. Completed on July 20, it was a building 30’ x 70’. C, OC

(5) The Passionist Fathers of St. Mary’s formed the Dunkirk Literary, Scientific, and Missionary Institute. The charter of incorporation was dated July 6. Ownership of the church, school, and cemetery was transferred to the monastic corporation, which had been established on May 28. HD, OM

(6) The Cary & Bellows Hardware Store was established.

(7) The Eastern Hotel served as military headquarters for the district during the Civil War.

(8) The St. Nicholas Hotel began business. Owned by Nicholas Bohn, it was located on the north side of Third Street opposite Union Station.


(1) A congregation of the Zion Evangelical Association was organized. J. J. Bernhardt was the first missionary pastor, and services were held in private homes. DE, OM

(2) A bridge was completed over Crooked Brook north of the toll gate on the Plank Road between Dunkirk and Fredonia. Improvements were made to the road, the planks removed, and it became much more passable. The Dunkirk Journal of September 23 suggested that the Plank road be called Central Avenue.

(3) Camp’s soap factory burned. OM

(4) John and Walter Hilton established a brick-making business. John Hilton had been in business in 1850, with his father, William Hilton. HD

(5) St. George’s (later Sacred Heart) congregation was served for several years by priests who came from Buffalo to conduct services, but in 1863 the Passionist Fathers took charge.


(1) Property at 409 Elk Street was acquired by the congregation of the Zion Evangelical Association. OC

(2) St. Mary’s purchased a residence (Grosvenor property) to be used for the care of its orphans (1867?). It adjoined the church, and an addition was built to provide a convent for the Sisters (this was later moved across to the west side of the street where the Edwards property was purchased; it was still later torn down and replaced by the brick building put up in 1878). HD, OC

(3) A new street, West Point Avenue, was opened. OM

(4) St. John’s German United Evangelical Church building at Fourth and Leopard Streets was enlarged. OM

(5) The grist mill in 1832 at Third and Robin Streets was taken down.

(6) Immigrant House, a hotel on E. Third Street near Lion was destroyed by fire. It had been one of the hotels where persons waiting for boats to take them West had been guests.


(1) Clark & Allen purchased a plant for the manufacture of boilers and engines at the corner of Fourth, Lion, and Ruggles Streets. It was called the Dunkirk Iron Works. Y, OW, CG

(2) The Dunkirk Printing Company began publication of the Chautauqua Farmer.

(3) Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train paused at midnight on its journey through the city on the 27th of April, and a group of citizens fired guns and tolled bells. C

(4) Zion Evangelical Association erected a church building on its Elk Street property. The building cost $2200. E, C, HD

(5) The New York & Erie Railroad set up a bell on the roof of the Erie dock at the foot of Buffalo Street. It was placed in a cupola, and was used to signal the arrival of boats so that stevedores could be called to unload the cargo. It served as a warning during fogs and storms, and it signaled the beginning and ending of working days for employees, being rung at 6:00 a.m., noon, and 6:00 p.m. For a time it also rang for fire alarms. It had been cast in Troy, New York in 1852. OM

(6) The first railway mail car arrived on the Erie from New York. It was called the “flying post office.” OM

(7) St. George’s parish built a small school costing $1200. OM

(8) Granger House was purchased by Charles Hayward, who named it Farmer’s Hotel.


(1) The formal opening of the Erie Hotel, a large brick structure, was held April 26. The three-story, 85-room building was owned by the Erie Railroad and served as the depot for the Erie and also the Buffalo & State Line Railroad. The hotel was leased to J. J. Murphy as proprietor. OM

(2) The Zion Evangelical Church building on Elk Street was dedicated.

(3) Horse-drawn cars began regular trips between Dunkirk and Fredonia in September. The line was known as the Dunkirk & Fredonia Railway Company. Previous to this time, the two communities had been served by horse-drawn omnibuses. DS, OM

(4) School No. 2 was built at 113-115 Deer Street, and opened November 26. OC

(5) Dunkirk Chapter No. 191, Royal Arch Masons, was formed in April, with rooms at 126 Center Street. OM

(6) The Empires, Dunkirk’s first baseball team, played in Washington Park, then an open field. The team had 7 players.

(7) The Frontiers was a rival team.

(8) The village board discussed the possibility of having a hospital if state appropriations could be secured. A suggested location was Eagle Street, south of Sixth Street. No further action developed.

(9) Dunkirk Hose Company No.1 was organized on June 6. It consisted of all German members and was called by them “Dunkirk Spritzenhaus No. 1” for a time. The station was on the north side of E. Third Street, east of Lion Street. Dunkirk Hose No. 1 was the successor to Engine Company No. 1, which had been formed in 1853 and was dissolved in 1866.


(1) St. John’s Episcopal Church erected a brick building at 14 W. Fourth Street at a cost of $12,000. The cornerstone was laid June 24. E, C, DE, HD, OM

(2) T. O’Donnell founded the M. J. O’Donnell & Company planing mill, located on the north side of E. Fourth Street, east of Buffalo Street. E

(3) R. L. Cary & T. H. Whittlesey started a flour and feed business at 42 E. Front Street.

(4) The first illumination of houses and stores by gas was begun October 25 by the Dunkirk Gas Light Company, which manufactured gas from coal at a plant on W. Second Street. The lighting of streets was started in November. OW, OM

(5) There was an appropriation of $100,000 for the harbor, and the west pier was rebuilt and a new breakwater begun. GB

(6) Lake traffic reached a high peak during this year, when 679 vessels entered and cleared the harbor. GB

(7) The Monroe Block at 300-304 Center Street was built by O. Monroe. OM

(8) A grocery business was started by Daniel Scannell on E. Front Street (purchased from his employer). OM

(9) Nelson Bartholomew put up a large brick building at 106-108 Center Street, on the site of the old American Hotel. It was called Bartholomew’s Opera House (later, a Nelson family acquired the building (date?); it was then known as the Nelson Opera House; Mr. Nelson added a two-story frame section at the south end of the building; at one time a Y. M. C. A. was located in this addition, date?).

(10) The tower clock of St. Mary’s R. C. Church was installed. A slate roof was put on the church building. Interior work involved arching the ceiling in Gothic style.


(1) A disastrous fire occurred on February 22, destroying 38 buildings. a strong wind nullified efforts of firemen. From Second Street north, on Center Street on the west side, every building was burned. On the east side several were destroyed. A large furniture store on Second Street was also burned. Following this occurrence, several businesses relocated farther south on Center Street. OW

(2) Clark & Allen’s boiler plant, the Dunkirk Iron Works, was purchased by Sellew & Popple of Gowanda. Locomotives were built, many for the logging industry in various parts of the country. They were taken on temporary tracks down Lion Street to the railroad and shipped out. Y, CG, OM

(3) The Wright Lumber Company was started. HD

(4) On June 1, Monroe’s Drug Company was founded by Oran Monroe, the photographer. He purchased the stock and equipment of the McCarty & Towle Drug Firm, which had been located in the Monroe Block built the previous year at 300-304 Center Street. Dr. McCarty was a physician who had come from Canada (original address, 72 Center Street). OM

(5) The O’Donnell Brothers Lumber Mill, located on E. Fourth Street east of Buffalo Street, north side, was burned down with a complete loss. About 40 volunteers pumped water from the reservoir located at Fourth and Buffalo Streets. Leather hose was used by the firemen at that time.OW

(6) Columbus Hall, a brick building, was erected by St. Mary’s, at a cost of $20,000, for use as a parochial school. It was located at Fourth and Buffalo Streets, facing Buffalo Street, No. 336 Buffalo Street. There were 7 classrooms on the first floor. The building contained an auditorium which was available for public use, and the rental from this was to be used to support the school. Midway from the ground to the top, at the corner, a stone inset contained the street names; ie., Buffalo on the west, Fourth on the south. OM

(7) The Dunkirk Choral Union was organized in April. OM

(8) A spacious home was completed for the O. Monroe family on E. Seventh and Monroe Streets. OM

(9) The Dunkirk Union and the Fredonia Advertiser were unified to become the Advertiser & Union, a weekly, December 25. CG

(10) William O. Stevens Post, G. A. R., No. 124, was organized for the men who served in the Civil War. It was named for Col. Stevens who lost his life at Chancellorsville in 1863.

(11) All companies of the New York State National Guard in Chautauqua County were officially disbanded onJune 8. OM

(12) St. John’s Episcopal Church held its first service in its newly-completed building, on St. John the Baptist Day, June 24. The congregation moved from its former building on Center Street. OM

(13) The large three-story freight house of the New York & Erie Railroad on Front Street at Buffalo Street was destroyed by fire.


(1) The first issue of the Advertiser & Union came out January 1. CG

(2) The Chautauqua Farmer, a weekly, began publication in January, with J. M. Lake in charge. The paper moved to Forestville in September. CG

(3) On January 1, the Irondequoit Lodge took over the third floor of the new Heyl Block in Center Street, furnishing the rooms at a cost of $5,000.

(4) School No. 3, 132 Maple Avenue, and School No. 4, 752 Central Avenue, were completed and opened January 13. Number 4 was on land donated by Ezra Williams. At this time, there were 963 children of school age in the village. OC

(5) School No. 5 on W. Second Street was completed. OC

(6) St. Mary’s School building, first called Columbus Hall, was completed, and classes which had been held in the church basement rooms, were moved into the new quarters. OC

(7) A flour and feed business was started by Frank May. HD

(8) The Buffalo & State Line Railroad, which had purchased the Erie & North East Railroad, consolidated with the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, completing a trunk line from Buffalo to Chicago. HD

(9) The Brooks Locomotive Works was organized November 1, and incorporated November 11. The New York & Erie repair shops, which had been established upon the completion of the Erie Railroad in 1851, had existed until October when the railroad decided to move them to Hornell. Horatio G. Brooks came to the rescue of the city, and on October 29 leased the shop buildings for ten years with the purpose of setting up a locomotive manufacturing concern. The first order was from the Erie Railroad for 25 engines. One locomotive was built in November and one in December. OM, OW, D

(10) The capital stock of the Brooks Locomotive works was $350,000. The plant occupied nine acres of ground. CG

(11) S. M. Hamilton established a business dealing in coal, lumber, and building supplies at 221-223 Eagle Street (1856?). HD

(12) A one-story brick addition to St. Mary’s Monastery was built to become the Chapel of St. Paul of the Cross.


(1) Dunkirk’s population was listed as 5,231. D

(2) Chautauqua House, a brick structure at 335 Lion Street, was built by Victor Rider. HD

(3) The Center Street Fire Hall was built. Loder Company and Pioneer Hook & Ladder Company were the first occupants of the hall at 310-312 Center Street. OM

(4) During its first year of existence, the Brooks Locomotive Works completed 27 engines.

(5) The Gunther Ice Company was organized, and a building for storing ice was put up at the corner of Dove and W. Front Streets.

(6) The Blackham Select School was ended.

(u) A tailoring and clothing business was established by Morris Van de Velde at 45 E. Third Street.

(u) Robert McKay purchased the livery at 212 Lion Street.