DUNKIRK Between 1871 and 1899


(1) The Dunkirk, Allegany Valley & Pittsburgh Railroad was built. Although intended to run as far as Pittsburgh, it was not continued to that terminus, but the name remained. This was first two companies, The Dunkirk and Warren, and the Warren and Venango. The first passenger train ran on June 22, 1871, from Dunkirk to Irvington, near Warren. The Warren Titusville section was completed December31, 1872. OA, OM, et al

(2) It was stated that Chautauqua County then had more miles of railroad than any other county in the state. CG

(3) The Board of Water Commissioners was created by an act of the State Legislature on

April 13. The Board purchased a lot at the corner of Robin and West Front Streets. A bond issue for $100,000 was approved for the construction of the waterworks. E, HD, OM

(4) The frame building of the Presbyterian Church, which had been moved from East Third

Street to West Fourth and Eagle Streets was taken down preparatory to the building of a brick structure. HD

(5) Frank May, flour and feed dealer, built a three-story brick building for his business. HD

(6) The large, beautiful home of O. Monroe on East Seventh Street was destroyed by fire. OM

(7) The Alcott, Ross & Scully Company built a pile dock extending out from Eagle Street. The planning mill was on the south side of West Front Street between Swan and Eagle Streets. CM

(8) A book store was started by Major C.K. Abell in the Nelson Opera House Block. OM

(9) Independent Hose Company Number 3 was organized. It was also called the Parker Hose Company. A hall for this company was built on East Fourth Street near Leopard.With the creation of this company, the village had four in service. OM


(1) The population of the village was now about 8,000.

(2) The Dunkirk Library Association was formed as a stock company on January 13, with stockholders and members. The first meeting to discuss the organization was January 8.

There were 85 shareholders, 475 shares at $5.oo par value, giving a capitol stock of $2375, with which the executive committee purchased 2,000 books. Memberships included: life $50; annual $3; six months $1.50. The use of the books was obtained with a yearly payment of $2. The library opened in July, was located on the second floor of the Monroe Block. It also served as a free reading room. Open from 9A.M. To 9P.M. OC, G

(3) A Holly System water works was installed. The crib, intake pipe, machinery, ten miles of pipe, and 64 hydrants, ran into an expenditure of $100,000. The fire department handpumps were retired, being no longer needed after the hydrants were available. The Loder pumper was saved for display purposes. OM, OW

(4) Charles Ehlers and Company, furniture, upholstering, etc. was founded and located on Lyon Street. Corner of Deer and Third.

(5) The Brooks Locomotive Works was not turning out seven locomotives per month.

(6) A school known as Number 6 was conducted in a rented building at the corner of Fifth and Elk Streets. It was located there for three years.


(1) At this time Dunkirk had six schools, five brick structures and one rented frame building. Twenty-six teachers were employed.

(2) Dunkirk now had nine church edifices, belonging to the following denominations: Baptist, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, German Methodist, German Lutheran, German Reformed, Methodist and Presbyterian. In addition, three societies held meetings in rented quarters: Free Methodist, Spiritualist and Universalist. The Free Methodist congregation was located at Fox and Fifth Streets.

(3) A coal business was started by M.K.Mc Donough at 30-32 Railroad Ave. (BP says 1865)

(4) The financial crisis in the fall of 1873 caused the suspension of activities at the locomotives works for several months. OM

(5) The brick structure of the Presbyterian of the Presbyterian Church was completed at a cost of $20,000. It was dedicated October 16.

(6) The steamship, City of Detroit, Carrying a valuable cargo of gold and copper, was wrecked in the vicinity.

(7) Dunkirk Hose Company Number 1 was incorporated June 5.

(8) The lay teachers who had conducted classes at the parish school of St. Georges Churchwere replaced by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

(9) The village’s population was 6,900.

(10) St. Mary’s Church was remodeled, with dedication services November 30.

(11) Classes which were still being held in the orphanage building of St. Mary’s were moved into the school which had been built in 1868-1869, so that all educational work was consolidated in the one facility. The orphanage girls were thus placed with all other children in the school building.


(1) A resident pastor was appointed to St. George’s Church (later Sacred Heart), which had previously been served by Jesuit Fathers and before that by Passionist Fathers. After hisarrival on November 18, the parish received a gift of a house and lot in Railroad Avenue for a parochial residence. OM

(2) Walter Smith, businessman and Dunkirk’s first village president, promoter of harbor and railroad interests, builder of Loder House, etc., died on September21, age 74.


(1) Visiting priests had served the families’ religious needs for several years. About 85 Polish American families joined in the formation and building of St. Hyacinth’s Roman Catholic Church, which cost $10,000. It was located at 76 East Lake Road. The cornerstone was laid September 12. The cost of the lot was $355. E, C, OM

(2) The original lighthouse at Point Gratiot, constructed in 1826-27, was replaced, the workstarting on June 16. The new building was located 160 feet southwest of the former tower, which allowed space for a road around the point along the cliff. The light was imported from France, and had a brilliance of 28 candle-power, with a flash of 15,000 candle-power every ninety seconds. It was visible 16 to 18 miles away, depending on atmospheric conditions. The tower was 61 feet high, and the lantern was 90 feet above water level. The total cost was $15,000. OM

(3) The village purchased the state armory at 342 Center Street, to be used as a village hall,for $4200. HD, OM

(4) The Vort & Smith Planning Will, located on the west side of Center Street between Third and Fourth Streets, was burned on June 4. This was the first test of the water works system, and it was found that an abundance of water could be supplied. However, the fire was of incendiary origin, and the fire hose was slit, which caused a delay resulting in the loss of the mill. Surrounding buildings were saved. OW

(5) The state legislature passed an act placing all of the town of Dunkirk in the Dunkirk Union Free School District. This added three schools to the jurisdiction of the Board of Education: Number 7 on Roberts Road; Number 8 on West Lake Road; Number 9 on Central Avenue near the south boundary of the village, which was then north of the area later occupied by the fairgrounds. OC

(6) Following the burning in 1871 of the Monroe home in East Seventh Street, a barn on the property was made into a home, the work being completed in 1875.

(7) Henry Weiler started a book and Stationery business.

(8) As a result of the 1873 financial panic in the country, the Dunkirk Library gave up its rented space in the Monroe Block. It was given a room in the village hall. (Later, when the city needed that room, it was located in the Women’s Union Building (1890?). In 1897 the borrower’s fee was reduced to $1 a year. See 1898 for the successor to this library.)

(9) J. Promenshenkel became proprietor of a hotel and restaurant at 23 East Third Street.


(1) St. George’s parish started building a new brick church. The cornerstone was laid June 11 and the church was known as the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It cost $20,000. HD, OM

(2) Dunkirk’s second Masonic Lodge, Dunkirk Lodge #767, F & AM, was chartered June 12. The first meeting had been held December 9, 1875, under a special dispensation of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. The constitution ceremony was held July 25, 1876. OM

(3) Construction of the new lighthouse was finished June 30, and the light was started on the night of July 1. The height of the tower was 61 feet. On a clear night, the light could be seen 24 miles out on the lake. OM

(4) The Dunkirk Marble & Granite Works was opened by Rudolph Moldenhauer, at Third and Buffalo Streets. HD

(5) F.D. Matteson & Company, a merchant tailoring and men’s furnishings store, was started on Lion Street. HD

(6) William E. Stegman opened a grocery business at 127 Center Street.

(7) St. Hyacinth’s church building was dedicated March 12. This was the second parish for Polish people in the Diocese of Buffalo. The dedication mass was followed by the blessing of the church bell, a gift of George Dotterweich.


(1) D.F.Toomey started a flour and feed business at 434-436 Lion Street. HD

(2) The Methodist Church building was remodeled and enlarged by the addition of a room for the Sunday school, at a cost of $3000. M, OM

(3) The village officials voted to improve Washington Park, which had been a meadow where hay was grown. It had been enclosed by a picket fence, with stiles at the corners by which to enter it. This fence was removed, trees were planted, walks laid out, and a fountain installed. OW

(4) The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was dedicated November 18, having been built at a cost of $20,000. The old church building was moved to East Second Street, having served St. George’s parish since 1857. The new building was 52’x117’, with a 130 foot high tower. Bells, a tower clock, and a marble altar were donated by the Dotterweich Family. The three bells weighed 850 lbs., 1412 lbs., and 2500 lbs. respectively, and cost $ 1750. The marble altar cost $5000. An organ was installed, this also being a Dotterweich gift. E, HD, OM

(5) The Hilton brothers dissolved their partnership, and each formed a separate brick making business. HD

(6) Charles Ahrens started a grocery business.


(1) Timothy Brick, manager and owner of the Farmer’s Exchange Hotel, bought the business and building of the Eastern Hotel. OC

(2) St. Mary’s Church erected a three-story brick structure to be used as an orphans’ home. It was located at 319-325 Buffalo Street, and replaced the house which had formerly been moved to the west side of the street from its previous location on the east side of the street. The new building was ready for occupancy in October. HD, OM

(3) John A. Stapf moved his jewelry business here from Parker City, Pa., and located at 128 Center Street. GB

(4) The Dunkirk Choral Union, which had had notable success in local and out-of-town performances of songs and cantatas, was disbanded.

(5) The O’Neil flour wholesale business was purchased by John W. O’Brien, an employee of the firm. HD


(1) P.J. Mulholland & Company was formed to trade in lime, cement, etc., at 21-23 East Second Street. HD

(2) The old brick building on East Third Street was taken down, and the brick saved for use in the construction of the academy building. Since the time when it served as a school, the building had been used as a village hall and jail, and then abandoned and occupied by tramps. The village had paid $35 a year as rental while using it. OM

(3) An allotment of $2500 was made by the government for harbor improvement here. OM

(4) Number 10 School was completed and occupied on October 13. It was located at 9-11 East Lake Road, extending through to 164-166 East Front Street. OC

(5) Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company, which had been formed in 1853, was incorporated. OM

(6) Dunkirk’s population was over 7000.

(7) During the 1870’s a business district came into being on Lion Street, extending south to Fourth Street. This was occasioned by increased population in the first, third, and fourth wards.

(u) A livery was added to the Chautauqua House on Lion Street. HD

(8) A new general store was started by Slocum & Monell. OM

(9) A grocery store was opened in Lion Street by Michael Paulus. OM

(10) Robert Mullett purchased a half interest in the Johnson Fish Market on East Third Street. OM


(1) Charter was changed February 19 to convert village to city. Dunkirk was incorporated as a city on February 19. Its population was listed as 7,248. (One source gives the date as February 24.) It was the county’s first incorporated city. (Jamestown six years later) E, OM


(2) John S. Beggs, who had been president of the village, was continued in office until March, when his term of office expired and an election was held. Horatio G. Brooks was the first Mayor. Daniel Scannell, who had been village clerk, continued in office and became city clerk, after the election. OW

(3) New buildings were put up and new machinery purchased by the Brooks Locomotive Company. ( Including the office building ?)

(4) The Agricultural Society of Northern Chautauqua was formed. OC

(5) The City Hall Congregation, also called the Independent Congregation, and later to become the Unitarian Church, was formed by the Rev. E.P. Adams. Mr. Adams had been the local Presbyterian minister for four years, but was deposed by the Buffalo Presbytery. Part of the congregation went with him to form the new organization, which held services in the city hall. E, HD

(6) The board of education obtained full title to the five-acre block of land between Eagle and Swan and West Fifth and West Sixth Streets for school purposes. This plot had beendesignated for school use in 1838 by the Dunkirk Land Company, but was not substantiated when the Board of Education came into existence. As it had been used as a cemetery for the burial of bodies from a shipwreck, these were re-interred in the Dunkirk Cemetery on Bennett Road. An appropriation of $4000 in 1879 and $3000 in 1880 by the Board of Education enabled it to start the building of the academy. OC, OM

(7) The Presbyterian Church building was closed for a year, and the congregation held services in a public hall until the courts could decide which group of the original members should own it.

(8) The city rented a hall on Third Street between Deer and Leopard Streets for the use of Hose Company Number 1.

(9) The Meister Contracting Company was started. (12 West Third Street?)

(u) The Dunkirk Handle Factory was located at Ruggles and Talcott Streets. The proprietors were Mills and Sears. HD

(10) At the March 16 meeting of the council, a police force of six men was appointed. Therewas no chief. The men were under the supervision of the mayor. When the council met on April 6, it was decided that the policemen should have policemen’s caps and belts. Handcuffs and leather clubs were also authorized for their use.


(1) The Mulholland Spring Company was formed, starting a business on Railroad Avenue. HD

(2) B.K. Gifford purchased the photographic studio of O.Monroe at 223-225 Center Street. HD

(3) E.C. Perry & Company purchased the firm of McDougall & Avery, a plumbers’, gas and steam fitters’ supply company. (McDugall in business since 1865? Perry purchase in 1880 ?)HD

(4) The water intake line was extended 1000 feet into the lake from the old crib in order to obtain purer water. Work completed September 23. OC

(5) Elk Street was opened from Seventh Street south to the site of the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad. OM

(6) Abell’s Book Store moved from the Opera House Block to the Monroe Block. OM

(7) The new three-story brick academy building on Eagle Street was opened for use in September. It cost $8000. The block was called Academy Square. OC, OM

(8) Dunkirk’s first telephone exchange was set in operation when a few stores rigged up some lines so that calls could be made between them. Later in the year a tower was constructed on top of the Monroe Block, and a switchboard placed in the store. There was no regular operator; clerks of the drug store served in their free time. The telephone had been invented only five years before this. OM

(9) St. Hyacinth’s Church opened a school at 12 Pangolin Street.

(10) A Chautauqua County Fair was held on the Central Avenue grounds, starting September 20. (This property used since 1860?)

(u) George A.H. Eggers engaged in the photography business at the corner of Fifth and Swan Streets. (1889?)

(11) The Merchants National Bank was organized, and opened March 6, having purchased the building at 301-305 Lion Street. This building had recently been erected, replacing the store and hotel of D. Philippbar, which had been situated in that location for some time.

1882 cont’

(1) The store and hotel had signs in both German and English for the benefit of German-speaking residents. The bank’s capital was $100,000. E, HD, OM

(2) St. John’s Episcopal Church was consecrated on June 24, being free from debt. OC

(3) The New York, Chicago, & St. Louis Railroad was completed in October. It’s station was located near Central Avenue where the railroad crossed that street. This railroad was commonly called the Nickel Plate. E, HD

(4) William Martin, who had been a Methodist minister, serving in Dunkirk, and then had been mayor of the city and later a consul general in China, invented a safe car-heating system for railroads. He formed a company in May, with a capital of $200,000 to establish a manufacturing plant in Dunkirk. It was called the Martin Anti-Fire Car Heater Company. HD

(5) A hotel was built by Julius Polinski at 800 Central Avenue across the tracks from the Nickel Plate station. HD

(6) Thomas W. Sidey and John McLaren opened a dry goods store at 61 Center Street ( later 221 Center Street) on September 9. It was called the Buffalo Store. HD, OM

(7) A drug store was established at Lion and West Third Streets by Light and Harper. This was just north of the Merchants Bank entrance of the building. OM

(8) The Chautauqua Farmer, a weekly paper, was moved to Dunkirk, a part interest in it having been acquired by Dr. J.T. Williams. He and his partner, A.G. Parker, also took over another weekly, the Dunkirk Journal which was located at 307 Center Street. They then started a daily paper, which was known first as the Lake Shore Observer, then the Evening Observer. The company formed for the publication of all three was the Dunkirk Printing Company. The first issue of the Observer came out on December 4. The first name of the publication was Evening Observer. (Later, date unknown, it was for a time the Lake Shore Observer, then Dunkirk Observer-Journal, then in 1899, the Dunkirk Evening Observer, then in 1909, the Evening Observer, and finally, date unknown, Dunkirk Evening Observer.) E, OM

(9) The Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad was completed. This was a continuation of a “crosscut” from Corry to Brocton, which was started in 1866 and called Buffalo, Oil Creek, and Crosscut. The new railroad shared the station of the Nickel Plate Railroad. E, HD

(10) A pictorial map of the city published. M

(11) The city’s telephone exchange had acquired 92 customers. OM

(12) The city’s population was given as 7300.

(u) J.T. & Company had a coal and wood business at the corner of Fourth and Center Streets. HD

(u) The Dunkirk Barrel factory was located at Second and Elk Streets. T.J. Werner was proprietor. HD

(13) The Ehlers Furniture Company acquired the building at 400 Center St. and moved its business to that location.


(1) The Martin Anti-Fire Car Heater Company was incorporated. E

(2) The Lake Shore Bank was reorganized as a national bank in April, with T.R. Coleman at its head. The state charter was changed to a national charter, and it was called the Lake Shore National Bank. Having formerly been located on the north side of East Front Street, the new institution erected a building at 229 Center Street. E, HD

(3) The Irving Book Bindery was started, and located at 16 East Second Street. This building had once been the home of a famous sculptor, Erastus Dow Palmer. HD

(4) The Brooks Locomotive Company purchased the buildings in which it had been operating from the Erie Railroad. During 1882 the company had built 200 locomotives, and its 1883 output was 250. HD, OM

(5) School Number 4, a one-story building, was burned. It was immediately rebuilt as a two-story building, and was ready for use within a few months. OC

(6) The Knights of Pythias was organized and chartered. HD

(7) The Dunkirk Shirt Factory was established by A. Williams and W. Cromwell in Lion Street. It had 24 machines for the making of white shirts. HD, GB

(8) F.K. Lyon and M.A. Lyon purchased from Moore & Smith the drug store at 53 Center Street. OM

(9) The United States adopted standard time in November. OM

(10) St. Hyacinth’s Church built a frame rectory at 12 Pangolin Street.

(11) Sons of Veterans, William O. Stevens Post #393, was formed on August 14. It was started in order to perpetuate the memory of the G.A.R. soldiers and carry on with aid to veterans. The G.A.R., William O. Stevens Post#124, could last only while the men who served in the Civil War were still living, so this was intended as the successor to that organization. It held its meetings in the Heyl Block.

(12) Frank Wietzel started a bakery at 411 Lion Street.


(1) The first steam fishing tug began operations from the port. Named “Ruby”, and owned by Captain J. Sweet, it was 40’ long with a boom of 10’. OC

(2) St. George’s Hall was erected at a cost of $9000 to replace the original small school building of Sacred Heart Church, to serve as a parochial school and meeting place for the church groups. Another lot on Railroad Avenue was purchased to provide the necessary room. HD, OM

(3) A.L. Beecher and W.S. Lacey started a business in carbonated water. HD

(4) Levy’s clothing store was established. OM

(5) Citizen’s Hose Company Number 2 was organized December 17. OM

(6) St. George’s Commandery of the Knights of St. John was organized, July 2, at Sacred Heart Church. OM

(7) F.K. Lyon purchased his brother’s interest in their drug store, and continued as sole proprietor.

(8) The Dunkirk Iron Works was closed.

(u) Merchant tailoring was done by Peter Scholtes at 17 East Third Street. HD


(1) The winter of 1884-1885 was so cold that the lake was frozen for its entire distance across to the Canadian shore. It was not entirely free from ice until June. OM

(2) The Women’s Literacy Club was organized. There had been a predecessor, the Central Avenue Literacy Association, for men and women. E, OM

(3) T.W. Sidey purchased the interest of his partner, Mr. McLaren, and became the sole proprietor of the dry goods company, the Buffalo Store. HD

(4) Sacred Heart parochial residence, a brick structure, was built at a cost of $5000. HD

(5) The city began keeping statistical records, including all births, in the city hall, for future reference. OM

(6) The large covered portion of the Erie Railroad Station, which covered the tracks of all the railroads at Union Station, was taken down. Because of the new practice of running long trains, the roof was not long enough, and an addition would have to be needed. M

(7) A small piece of property between Columbus Hall (St. Mary’s School) and the monastery was purchased for $1300, giving the church continuous frontage from the church to the corner of Fourth Street.

(8) Loder Hose Company disbanded.


(1) Alexander Mann started a plumbing business at 31 East Third Street. (Later, 1888?, moved to 27 East Third Street.) HD

(2) The Mulholland Spring Company plant on Railroad Avenue was burned July22. The company then erected a brick three-story structure at 208-220 Buffalo Street, for the manufacture of springs and carriages. (Later, truck cabs were made.) HD, OM

(3) Barber, Scully & Company bought out the lumber firm of David Wright, located at West Front Street and Eagle Streets, with docks extending out into the harbor. HD

(4) The Home Steam Laundry was established on August 2 by A.W. Cummings and F.B. Rice at 207 Center Street. HD

(5) The Dunkirk Shirt Company moved from Lion Street to 203-207 Center Street. Mr. Williams purchased the interest of Mr. Cromwell, and the business became a subsidiary of the Cummings Laundry, starting at its new location in August. The company made “Dunkirk” and “Cromwell” brands. (In 1889 the business had 126 machines, with a capacity of 500 dozen shirts a week.) GB, OM

(6) The Young Men’s Association was formed, with 50 members, on August 30. It had the motto, “Finis Coronet Opus”, and was planned for the mental, moral, and material advancement of its members and the betterment of the city. The first meeting was held in the editorial room of the Dunkirk Evening Observer. HD, OM

(7) F.D. Matteson & Company, Tailoring, moved from Lion Street to 301 Center Street, where it had a large saleroom in a business block put up by the Monroe Company. The manufacturing was done across the street on the third floor over Monroe’s Drug Store, 300 Center Street. HD

(8) The W.C.T.U. was organized.

(9) The Harell Steam Heating Company opened in Railroad Avenue, the headquarters being located next to the Opera House Block. Many styles and sizes of boilers were manufactured for heating all kinds of buildings. HD, OM

(10) A bridge or overhead roadway was constructed over the railroad tracks on Bass Street, giving an additional means of reaching the northwest area of the city. OM

(11) W.C. Heuser & Company, shoe dealer, merged the business of Rice & Abell, located on Lion Street since 1883, and Mr. Heuser who had been in business for several years, and moved to the Heyl Block, 218 Central Avenue.

(12) A pipe organ, costing $2030, was installed in the Episcopal Church.

(13) The P.B. Cary Hardware Store was established and located at 308 Center Street. It was the only hardware store in the city to do plumbing. (This company should not be confused with Cary & Bellows or Cary & Matteson, mentioned elsewhere.)

(14) In March the city charter was amended so that the city clerk was appointed by the mayor rather than being elected.


(1) The city’s population was 10,500. HD

(2) St Peter’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in May, by persons who were not satisfied with the management of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church at 8 West Fourth Street. This separate group conducted worship services in the old Free Methodist house at Fox and East Fifth Streets. Later they built a frame church at 316 Eagle Street, costing $6,600. It was dedicated in December. E, HD

(3) A customs collector was appointed. HD

(4) The Commercial Association was organized in July, for the purpose of encouraging Business and manufacturing establishments, and advancing the prosperity of Dunkirk. HD

(5) The post office carrier system was inaugurated September 1, with three regular carriers and one substitute. The post office was then located in the Opera House Block, 106-118 Center Street. HD

(6) Niagara House was established in April by Mrs. D. Dunham, at 333 Center Street. HD

(7) The Miner Bank failed. Its property on the northeast corner of Center and East Third Streets was then purchased by O. Monroe for $3700.

(8) Kirwin’s Publishing Company brought out the first city directory. OM

(9) St. Hyacinth’s Church was incorporated.

(u) Edward C. McIntyre purchased the Dickenson Livery at 315 Center Street. ( This later became the Blood Livery.) HD

(u) The landscaping of Washington Park was the first civic project of the Y.M.A. A fountain 25’ in diameter was put in, symmetrical walks were laid out, trees were planted, and benches set up. Total cost was $1000. (This date is uncertain. See 1877, item 3.) GB

(10) The St. James Hotel in East Third Street was destroyed by fire on August 4.


(1) The Women’s Educational and Industrial Union was organized March 15. Meetings were held in the Heyl Block for the first six months. The work of the organization was begun October 25. ( five charter members ). DE, OM

(2) Establishment of the Knights of the Maccabees occurred March 19. HD

(3) The Dunkirk Seed Company was organized by G.W.Wright, R.W.Wright, and D.S.Wright, Jr. It also manufactured Wright’s Cough Cure and Wright’s Little Liver Pills. OM

(4) The Wells-Fargo Express office was opened June 15, with headquarters in the Erie Railroad Building. HD

(5) The first use of electricity by the city in arc lamps for street lighting was made July 4. A privately owned dynamo had previously furnished power for 16 lights. The new system, with 57 lights, was completed on October 12, at a cost of 11,708.20. This was the electricity supplied by the Water Department. Authorized by New York State legislation 2/22/88. OW, OC, OM

(6) The Dunkirk Engineering Company purchased the building and equipment of the Dunkirk Iron Works, known as the Sellew & Popple plant, at the intersection of Lion, Fourth , and Ruggles Streets. HD, OM

(7) Three Felician Sisters of St. Francis came to take charge of the Polish parochial school at St. Hyacinth’s living in rooms on the upper floor of the school. OC

(8) The Star Clothing Manufacturing Company was established October 15 at 315 Lion Street, by E.Fink and H.Brown. GB

(9) C.H.Alexander purchased the coal business of E.W.Seamans at the Nickel Plate crossing on Central Ave. HD

(10) C.Bloss, on September 1, purchased the hardware business of Cary & Matteson, formerly Cary & Bellows, at 217 Center Street. The business had been established by Cary & Bellows in 1861. HD

(11) H.K.Williams purchased Mr. Parker’s interest in the Dunkirk Evening Observer, and became associated with his father, J.T.Williams, in the Dunkirk Printing Company. The company reported that it was printing 742 copies of the Observer daily. This was a time consuming job, as the type was set by hand, and the folding of papers also had to be done by hand. The flat bed press could print 600 impressions in an hour, on one side of the paper, and a second printing was needed for the reverse side of the pages.

(12) The Brash & Richmond Company, a drygoods store, was established.

(13) The Germania Hotel at 114 East Third Street, northwest corner of Beaver Street, which had been established in the 1850’s ended its existence as a hotel.

(14) An enlargement of St. Mary’s Monastery provided a library, monastic chapel, students’ rooms, bishop’s room, etc. The cornerstone of this section was laid on September 17. This was the culmination of plans started in 1880 for a Preparatory Seminary. ( 400 students?)

(15) The Fred Koch Brewery was started. First named Lake City Brewery, the company was owned by Fred Koch and Frank Werle. It was located at Fink’s crossing west of Dunkirk, and six months later moved to 17 West Courtney Street.

(u) S.J.Zahm became the proprietor of the Polinski Hotel at 800 Central Ave. HD

(u) H.H.Roberts started a coal business near the union depot. HD

(u) The New York & Erie Railroad changed its terminus from Dunkirk to Buffalo, with through trains from New York City going there. The Salamanca to Dunkirk line was continued as the Salamanca Division.


(1) The Women’s Educational and Industrial Union was incorporated in June. The organization purchased a lot at 406 Central Avenue for $10,000. DE, GB

(2) The Dunkirk Savings & Loan Association was organized February 16, and its charter recorded by the county clerk on March 29. Its offices were in the Lake Shore National Bank Building 229 Central Avenue. OM

(3) J.Q.Baker purchased the Danforth Shoe Store at 304 Center Street. ( It had been established in 1865? ) ( Original address: 76 Center Street ) OM

(4) In September a group of young men of St. Mary’s parish organized a society called St. Mary’s Lyceum. It lasted only a few months. GB

(5) The Lake City Band was organized. It was first known as Merrill’s Band. OM

(6) The Women’s Literary Club was incorporated. OM

(7) The Martin Anti-Fire Car Heater Company, which had started its manufacturing business in 1882, put up a three story brick building at the northeast corner of West Third Street and Dove Streets. It had 90 employees. HD, OM

(8) The Schauer Millinery Store was opened. The business had started in 1883 by Mrs. Lenz, and was now run by her daughter, Mrs. Schauer. OM

(9) The telephone exchange was connected with other area systems, and was managed by the New York & Pennsylvania Telephone & Telegraph Company. It was now possible to make calls to Buffalo, Jamestown, Warren, Corry, and Erie. OM

(10) An assistant lighthouse keeper’s residence was put up on the site of the original lighthouse and keeper’s home, by using the cellar walls of the original building as the base of the new frame structure.

(11) W. Welner entered into partnership with C.Bloss, and the Bloss Hardware Company became the Bloss & Welner Company

(12) Henry Weiler moved his book and stationery business to 103 East Third Street, this being a newly-built addition of the Merchants National Bank at Lion and Third Streets.

(13) F.B.Rice, partner of A.W.Cummings in the Home Steam Laundry, retired from the business because of ill health. ( The laundry became the Dunkirk Laundry, date unknown. 1900? )

(14) The Political Equality Club was organized. This was a wonen’s group, the purpose of which was to study the education of children and the women’s suffrage situation.


(1) The city’s population was listed as 9,416. E

(2) The Harell Steam Heating Company was organized. ( Date ? See 1886. Item 9.) E

(3) The People’s Store was opened by Bresh & Richmond at 220 Center Street. ( Date ? See 1888, item 12. ) GB

(4) The Episcopal rectory was completed at 16 West Fourth Street. GB

(5) The Women’s Union Building was completed and dedicated. The first meeting was held there on April 16. ( Over the years there were programs on art and literature, a kindergarten, home economics classes, welfare projects, etc. ) OM

(6) St. Hyacinth’s Church was enlarged to accommodate the increased size of the congregation.

(7) The academy campus was landscaped, and trees were planted. OC

(8) E.M.Davis established the Davis Drug Store. OM

(9) The Dunkirk Daily Herald was started by C. F. White. OM

(10) The Golden Fleece, a 451-ton ship, grounded on the beach near the Canadaway Creek during a storm on October 17. A second storm prevented completion of salvage operations, and bark was lost. OM

(11) D. E. Gurney opened a restaurant, ice cream parlor, and bakery, at 335 Center Street.

(12) A store was established by Julius Mayer, a master mechanic, who sold tiles, grates, furniture, etc., at 123 Central Avenue.

(u) Date is uncertain but around 1885 (?) or 1892 (?), the numbers of buildings on Center Street were changed so that they advance by a hundred for each block, based on the number of the intersecting street. For example, No. 53 between Second and Third Streets became No.215 Later (1894?) the street all through the business section was changed from Center Street to Central Avenue. Thus, the entire street from the lake to the south city line, was Central Avenue.


(1) The city’s population was now 10,319. E

(2) The excavation was begun in August for the Gratiot Hotel, with an entrance at 343 Central Avenue and one at 4 West Fourth Street. This project came about when personnel of the Young Men’s Association formed a Young Men’s Building Association to promote the building of a hotel. Land was given by D. Toomey. A four-story building, it had 325 rooms, 24 of which had bay windows, and a large dining hall. OM

(3) The first street paving in the city took place when Central Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets was done by contractor J. Rider at a cost of paving $28,491.13. (One source says East Third Street was done first. This was the start of paving projects for many streets, since in 1890 the city had not more than ½ mile of paving. By 1894 there were six miles of pavement, three quarters of this was brick.) DS, OM

(4) Alton’s brick house was taken down. OW

(5) The United States Radiator Company was formed. DE

(6) Olympia Lodge #602, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized on April 30. (April 6?) OM

(7) A new attempt to organize the young men of St. Mary’s parish was successful, and a legal corporate body was established, a literary society called the Lyceum. GB, OM

(8) Starting on October 29, electricity was used for the streetcar system between Dunkirk and Fredonia, replacing the horse drawn cars. This was one of the earliest electric lines in the state. The fare from Dunkirk to Fredonia was set at 10 cents. During the time of the horse-cars, there had been three five-cent zones; one from the Fredonia terminal to the village line; one from there to the Nickel Plate crossing; and the third from that point to Union Depot at Lion and Third Streets. DS, OM

(9) The Lake Shore Savings and Loan Association was organized on January 28, and located its office on 18 East Second Street. M

(10) Hickoryhurst was the name of the cluster of homes built on the east side of Point Gratiot by Dunkirk and Bradford residents as a summer colony.

(11) The Farmer’s Hotel, formerly Granger House, was purchased by George Hurlburt, and renamed Hurlburt House.

(12) A parsonage for the First Methodist Episcopal Church was built. It was placed on the part of the lot originally occupied by the first church building. Thus it was on the west portion of the property, with the number 27 East Fourth Street. The church building was 29 East Fourth Street.


(1) Hotel Gratiot, first called “The Brooks”, was opened to the public on May 1. The brick and stone building cost $85,000. The dining room had a large fireplace. The main entrance was 343 Central Avenue, and the one on the Fourth Street side was known as the ladies entrance. A free bus was available to meet all trains. OM

(2) St. Mary’s Lyceum was incorporated. The cornerstone of its building, 330 Central Avenue, was laid June 30. The building, which cost $15,000, was ready for use on November 24. The first floor consisted of clubrooms, and the third floor contained an auditorium. OC, GB, OM

(3) The Star Clothing Company, operated by E. Fink, moved into the Lyceum Building, 330 Central Ave, in November. GB

(4) Figures of the county clerk gave Dunkirk’s population as 10,098. OM

(5) On August 16, the paving of East Fourth Street from Central Avenue to Lion Street was completed at a cost of $16,621.07. The contract had been awarded to Jacob Rider the year before, and the cost was prorated to the city, the streetcar company, and the property owners. The street was then 38 feet wide. Brick was used. The cisterns provided for the fire department in 1858 were filled in, as they were no longer needed, after the installation of fire hydrants in 1872.

(6) Point Gratiot Review #6, Women’s Benefit Association, was organized. Another branch, Lake City Review #163, was formed later in the year.

(7) The Dunkirk Engineering Company was incorporated

(8) The large grain elevator at the Central Avenue dock was destroyed by fire. It had done a thriving business when much grain was brought by ship. The capacity had been 20,000 bushels.

(9) West Second Street was paved.


(1) St. Mary’s Lyceum started its regular program in January. OC

(2) St. Hyacinth’s parish built a brick school and hall. OC

(3) The O’Donnell Co. plant was destroyed by fire, located at corner of Railroad Ave. and Talcott St. GB

(4) The Water Department extended its intake pipe 5100 ft. from the power house into the lake, with 25 ft. of water over the crib. The capacity of the influent pipe was 16 million gallons per day. G

(5) During a furious lake storm on October 12, the ship Dean Richmond foundered off Van Buren. It went down at 11:30 at night, about two miles off the west side of Van Buren Point, with a loss of 18 lives and a cargo of flour, lumber, and copper worth $100,000. C, OM

(6) Brooks Locomotive Works sent 13 locomotives to the Columbian Exposition, having the 2nd largest display, next to the Baldwin Works. The company received a medal for excellence.

(7) The Dunkirk Music Club was formed (early 1890’s).


(1) St. Mary’s School (later known (1903) as St. Mary’s Academy) received a State Charter and was placed under the New York State Board of Regents. It was the first Roman Catholic school in the diocese to receive a Regents Charter. OC, OM

(2) A Board of Civil Service Examiners was appointed May 14, to conform to the state system established in 1883. GB, OM

(3) The United States Radiator Co. succeeded the Harell Steam Heating Co. in May. E

(4) A paid police department was organized. It consisted of the chief and five officers. Chapter 303 of the Laws of New York provided for the formation of a Board of Police & Excise Commissioners, this law effective on April 17 (in 1896 all matters pertaining to excise were removed from this law, and the Board became the Board of Police Commissioners). The Board appointed the policemen on May 30, the appointments to take effect June 11 at 8:00 a.m. On June 9, the police chief was selected, and the department was able to begin its work on June 11. DE, OM

(5) The boundary lines of the city were extended to the south line of the township, including the area on both sides of Central Ave. by Act of the State Legislature. GB

(6) Carl F. Ehlers purchased the dry goods store at 224 Central Ave. and moved to 302 Central Ave. GB

(7) A stock broker’s office was opened by L. W. Walter at 301 Central Ave. GB

(8) The O’Donnell Co. rebuilt its plant.

(9) Lake City Hose Company Number 4 was organized. OM

(10) Hose Company Number 3 was organized in May at Weiss’ Hall, East Front and Ermine Sts., and used a frame house in North Ermine St. as headquarters for its hand-drawn two-wheel pumper.

(11) St. Peter’s Lutheran Church affiliated with the Missouri Synod.

(12) Albert E. Nugent opened a law office on 225 Central Ave., October 1.


(1) The Grape Belt was moved from Brocton to Dunkirk by its founder, E. P. Harris. It has started publication in Brocton in 1893. DE, OM

(2) A local branch of the Y. M. C. A. was organized in February.

(3) A Board of Trade was established, the outcome of a public meeting held on January 26. GB

(4) A clubhouse was built at Hickoryhurst, where numerous cottages had been constructed. GB

(5) The Romer Axe Co. was organized by Nicholas and John Romer, who had owned a company they started in 1876 in Gowanda. They built a plant at 802 Lion St. GB, OM

(6) The Presbyterian manse was built at 15 W. Fourth St. next to the church. It cost $5,000. GB

(7) A five-and-ten-cent store was started by C. E. Dunn at 224 Central Ave. in July. GB

(8) The Salvation Army started a branch in Dunkirk (date is uncertain, 1883, 1887, 1894?). OM

(9) Hose Company No. 1 of the fire department was relocated. It had originally been housed on the north side of E. Third St. near Lion St., then was moved to Lion St. just north of E. Third St. This was the company made up of all German-American members, and meetings were conducted in German from its organization in 1866 until 1895. They were known as “The Dutch Ones”. OM

(10) The C. J. Alexander Fish Co. started its business at 2-4 E. Front St., the northeast corner of the intersection.

(11) The Light & Harper Drug Store on Lion St. was completely remodeled.


(1) On March 17, the C. F. Ehlers Dry Goods Store on 302 Central Ave. was destroyed by fire. It was reopened after a two-month interval. GB

(2) Congress appropriated funds for the improvement of the harbor. It was dredged, deepened, and the break wall extended 250 ft. The cost was $408,263. Tonnage during the year was 16,857, which included incoming shipments of lumber totaling 8,490,000 ft. DS, OM

(3) A large addition, facing Eagle St., was built at the Dunkirk Academy and dedicated November 17. It was brick with Medina stone trim. The building frontage was 132 ft. An assembly room with a stage was put in the basement area, with seating capacity of 1600. The citizens had rejected a proposal for a new building, but the Board of Education made use of a State Act of 1859 allowing it to build the addition with the approval of the voters. The addition was several times the size of the original building and cost $62,219.19. OC, OM

(4) The bell, owned and used by the Erie Railroad Co. on its Buffalo St. dock since 1865, was given to the city and placed in the tower of the new portion of the academy to signal the start of school and to serve in other functions. It was rung at the time of the dedication on November 17. OM

(5) A kindergarten system was put in place by the Board of Education at this time. GB

(6) St. Mary’s Church opened an annex on Bennett Rd. to care for an increasing number of orphans. A chapel known as St. Paul’s was opened on the church property on Buffalo St. and dedicated (date?, see 1869, item 12). GB, OM

(7) The hardware firm of Bloss & Welner, formerly the Bloss Hardware Co., was continued as the Bloss Hardware Co., Mr. Welner going into another line of work at this time. OM

(8) An observatory was built by C. E. Hequembourg on his property at 733 Central Ave., at the Eagle St. side. The dome contained a nine-inch telescope at a height of about 60 feet from the ground. At that time Eagle St south of Seventh St. was not opened, and was overgrown with weeds except for a wagon path in the center. OM

(9) The first horse-drawn fire-fighting unit in the city was purchased and used by Citizen’s Hose Company Number 2. However, they did not own a horse and had to obtain one from a livery when needed. OM

(10) Dunkirk Exempt Volunteer Firemen’s Association was formed January 3.

(11) The Dunkirk Engineering Company ended its business.

(12) The German Methodist Episcopal Church was now free of debt on its building.


(1) The Lake Shore Shirt Co. was organized, with its business located at Central Ave. and Second St. OM

(2) School Number 10 was enlarged. GB, OM

(3) Golden Scepter Rebekah Lodge was founded on February 10.

(4) Zion Evangelical Association purchased the house next to its church to be used as a parsonage. The address was 411 Elk St.


(1) The Young Men’s Association was incorporated on April 20. OC

(2) Incandescent lights were installed, replacing the arc lights in the city streets. OC

(3) School Number 3 was enlarged. School Number 4 had an addition built non the Washington Ave. side. Number 8 was also enlarged. OC, OM

(4) A commercial department was added to the Dunkirk Academy. OC

(5) Engine 103, the 3000th locomotive built at the Brooks Works, was the larges locomotive in the world at that time. OM

(6) Improvements, costing $400,000, were completed in the harbor. The west pier was 1,410 ft. long, and the island breakwater was 2,860 ft. long. A turning basin 400 ft. in diameter and a channel 150 ft. wide, were constructed in the rock shelf of the harbor. Both were 16 ft. deep. The pier lighthouse was blown down during a severe storm. OM

(7) An offer of the Brooks residence and property at 535 Central Ave. was made on May 9, by the family of the late Mr. & Mrs. Horatio Brooks, to the Young Men’s Association, to be used as a hospital and library, as a memorial to Mr. & Mrs. Brooks. The carriage house at the rear, which contained recreation rooms, was to serve as a clubhouse and permanent headquarters for the Y. M. A. The Brooks family had at one time lived on North Main St. and also at 115 S. Beagle St. Mr. Brooks had died in 1887. When Mrs. Brooks died in the current year, her son-in-law wrote to state that their daughters wished the offer of the property made for the benefit of the Y. M. A. and the citizens of Dunkirk. OM, OC

(8) The plant of the Dunkirk Engineering Works was dismantled, the machinery being taken elsewhere. The business had been idle for two years. OM

(9) A street market started in the city (one source says a market was in existence in 1889). OM

(10) The Graf undertaking and furniture business was started at 331 Lion St. OC

(11) A hospital association was formed to handle legal matters pertaining to the establishment of a hospital. It was chartered by the State Board of Charities, and the hospital was incorporated on July 18. One hundred local residents were members. Lectures and entertainments were given as money-making projects, and preparations made for the opening of the hospital. Furnishings for the operating room cost $304.13. OC, OM

(12) J. & A. Meyer opened a music store at 123 (?) Central Ave. OM

(13) The Lake Shore Seed Co. was established. OM

(14) The Y. M. A. held an open house on Thanksgiving Day. Many people visited the new headquarters and the building to be used for the hospital and library. OM

(15) A private business college, which had been conducted by Mr. King, was discontinued. OC

(16) The Board of Education, to comply with the Compulsory Education Law, hired an attendance officer. OM

(17) A fire hall for Hose Co. No 3 was built at 23-25 Middle Rd. OM

(18) The Dunkirk & Fredonia Telephone Co. was organized February 17, and commenced operation in August with seven full-time employees and assets of $40,000. OM

(19) The city’s population was given as 12m763.


(1) Benjamin Prescott Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was organized January 2. (DE)

(2) Brooks Memorial Free Library was opened to the public on January 11 in the Brooks home, under the Y. M. A. with no membership dues or fees. Thus it was the city’s first free library. Hours were 2:30 to 6:00 and 7:00 to 9:30 on weekdays, and 2:30 to 9:30 on Sundays. State support was provided, and it was under the State Board of Regents. The library was used so extensively that an assistant librarian was appointed in June. OM

(3) The first issue of “The Candle,” published by the students of Dunkirk High School, came out in January. OM

(4) The hospital bill was approved by the Common Council and a law authorizing an annual expenditure for the hospital and library was signed by the State governor. The hospital was ready for occupancy in March. The city appropriated $1500 per year for its support. The layout of the building was as follows: first floor—library, offices, etc.; second floor—men’s ward, 3 beds, women’s ward, 3 beds, 2 private rooms, and operating room; third floor—2 rooms for patients, rooms for nursing staff headquarters. OM

(5) The Women’s Hospital Auxiliary was organized in February with 175 members. OM

(6) The Y. M. A. gymnasium was opened in the building at the rear of the new hospital and library. OM

(7) A report of the free library showed a circulation of more than 3000 volumes in February. OM

(8) The first donation day for the hospital was held on March 10.

(9) Dunkirk harbor and channel were open for navigation in March. Buffalo harbor was still ice-locked. It was felt that, with the dredging of Dunkirk’s harbor to a depth which would permit large freighters to come into port, the early opening would assist Dunkirk to become a busy scene for marine traffic several weeks before the Buffalo harbor could be utilized. OM

(10) A franchise for an electric railway to Point Gratiot was granted by the Common Council in April. The company was to be known as the Dunkirk & Point Gratiot Traction Company. OM

(11) The public schools began having fire drill in April. OM

(12) A masquerade ball, for the benefit of the monument fund of the sons of Veterans, was held in St. Mary’s Lyceum building in April. OM

(13) The Merchants Association pledged $1000 toward the work of making repairs to the Central Avenue dock for the season. OM

(14) A nurse’s training school was planned at the hospital (this was started in 1901). OM

(15) The Independent Congregation, founded in 1880 by the Rev. E. P. Adams, joined the American Unitarian Society. OM

(16) The editor of the Fredonia Censor, writing on prosperity, said, “The town that can build a locomotive every 24 hours can do other wonderful things. Hotel, harbor, hospital, library, academy, and trolley cars are taking their places in rapid succession.” OM

(17) The Grape Belt, founded by A. P Harris in 1892 in Westfield, and brought to Dunkirk, was purchased by the Dunkirk Printing Company and combined with the Chautauqua Farmer. It came out on Tuesdays and Fridays (later it became a weekly paper). OC, OM

(18) The grounds of the Point Gratiot pavilion, which had been built by the Y. M. A., were improved with walks and flower beds. OM

(19) The first excursion boat on the C & B Line was to stop at Dunkirk on June 8. OM

(20) On August 6 there was a fire at the mill of Alcott, Ross & Scully. OM

(21) A new street was opened from Central Avenue to Eagle St., south of Seventh, in September. Later extended to Brigham Rd., it was called Prospect St. OM

(22) The fire department was reorganized. Independent Hose Co. No. 3 and Lake City Hose Co. No. 4 were disbanded. Paid fire drivers were appointed. Michael Hyland was the first, followed by John E. Stoyle. An addition was built to Hose 1 Fire Hall to accommodate the first horse and fire wagon. The first horse was named Frank M., in honor in honor of Frank d. Matteson, a former councilman and member of the fire and water committees. Lake City Hose Co. No. 4 was reinstated as Lake City Hose Co. No. 3. Dunkirk Hose Company No. 1 moved into the Fourth St. Fire Hall, 69 E. Fourth St. (Independent Hose Co. No. 3 had become known as the C. C. Parker Hose Co. No. 3, date not given, 1893?, Mr. Parker was mayor in 1893). The use of hors-drawn wagons allowed for the elimination of hand-pulled carts. OM

(23) School No. 1 was improved. OM

(24) C. H. Flesher located on East Lake Rd. and began the manufacture of soap specialties. OM

(25) Dr. H. R. Rogers published a scientific study of the life of James Metius of Holland, inventor of the telescope. Dr. Rogers began his medical practice in Dunkirk in 1852 and kept pace with scientific developments, especially in the field of electrical energy. He wrote many articles on medical and scientific subjects. OM

(26) In August, Thomas A. Edison went through Dunkirk on his way from Chautauqua to New Jersey. OM

(27) The fences across upper Eagle St. were removed, so the street was open from Front St. to Prospect Ave. OM

(28) The Dunkirk Steam Laundry, A. W. Cummings, proprietor, moved into new quarters on Central Ave. next to its previous location.. It occupied two floors and the basement of the building. OM

(29) One of Dunkirk’s oldest business houses, that of E. P. Salyer & Company, went out of business, the dry goods stock being sold to Rochester parties. OM

(30) The east breakwater in the harbor was extended eastward to a point near the foot of Leming St. OM

(31) The many accomplishments of the Y. M. A. were managed by its 300 members, who arranged for numerous lectures, concerts, and other entertainments, as money-raising projects. OM

(32) The Dunkirk and Hickoryhurst Electric Railroad was incorporated in September (one source says it was July 27, 1897).

(33) A two-foot fall of snow on Christmas night resulted in the use of four-horse sleighs for carrying passengers between Dunkirk and Fredonia, as it

was not possible for the streetcars to get through. OM

(34) On December 31, Miss Mary G. Bristol resigned as librarian. OM

(35) Susan B. Anthony came to Dunkirk for the state-wide Suffrage Convention.