Chautauqua, New York
View of Simpson Avenue
View of Simpson Avenue
Location within Chautauqua County and New York
Location within Chautauqua County and New York
Chautauqua is located in New York
Location within the state of New York
Coordinates: 42°13′34″N 79°29′2″W / 42.22611°N 79.48389°W / 42.22611; -79.48389
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
 • TypeTown Council
 • Town SupervisorDonald D. Emhardt (D)
 • Town Council
Members' List
 • Total67.19 sq mi (174.03 km2)
 • Land67.10 sq mi (173.79 km2)
 • Water0.09 sq mi (0.24 km2)
1,342 ft (409 m)
 • Total4,464
 • Estimate 
 • Density64.44/sq mi (24.88/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)716
FIPS code36-013-14069
GNIS feature ID0978815

Chautauqua is a town and lake resort community in Chautauqua County, New York, United States.[3] The population was 4,464 at the 2010 census.[4] The town is named after Chautauqua Lake. It is the home of the Chautauqua Institution and the birthplace of the Chautauqua Movement.[5]


The town of Chautauqua was formed on April 11, 1805, from the town of Batavia, while still part of Genesee County. The first settler arrived the year before, near the current village of Mayville. When Chautauqua County was created on March 11, 1808, the town's territory was increased to include the eastern tier of townships, so that the town and the new county were coextensive. The town is the "mother of towns" in Chautauqua County since all other towns in the county towns were once part of it. The town is still one of the largest in the county.[6]

The meaning of the name Chautauqua remains unknown and a source of speculation, with two longstanding folk translations being “bag tied in the middle” and “place where fish are taken out,”[7] the latter having some support based on similar words in other Iroquoian languages.[8]

In the years of the Chautauqua Institution's heyday, rail transport was the chief mechanism by which long distance travelers accessed the town. To 1926, the Chautauqua Traction interurban operated several interurbans a day from Chautauqua to Mayville, and then to Westfield; to the opposite direction the interurban went to Lakewood and Jamestown.[9][10][11] To the latter 1940s, Pennsylvania Railroad offered service at nearby Mayville, on a Pittsburgh-Buffalo route.[12] From prior to the interurbans to the waning years of interurbans, steamboats provided access to different parts of the lake from Mayville and Jamestown.[13]

The Lewis Miller Cottage of the Chautauqua Institution was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.[14] The Chautauqua Institution Historic District was listed in 1974.[14]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 67.2 square miles (174.0 km2), of which 67.1 square miles (173.8 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.14%, is water.[4]

Surrounding towns



Historical population
Census Pop.
2016 (est.)4,324[2]−3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 4,666 people, 1,881 households, and 1,269 families residing in the town. The population density was 69.4 people per square mile (26.8/km2). There were 4,174 housing units at an average density of 62.1 per square mile (24.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.25% White, 1.59% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 1.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.05% of the population.

There were 1,881 households, out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.5% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 22.4% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $36,379, and the median income for a family was $41,923. Males had a median income of $30,767 versus $23,561 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,003. About 7.5% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.3% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.


New York State Route 394 and New York State Route 430, which intersect in Mayville, are the two primary roads in the town. Route 394 comes from Jamestown on the western side of the lake and continues on to Westfield. Route 430 comes from Jamestown on the eastern side of the lake and goes southwest from Mayville to the state line west of Findley Lake, where it becomes Pennsylvania Route 430.

Notable people

Places in the town

See also


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 4, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ * Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Chautauqua" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 19.
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Chautauqua town, Chautauqua County, New York". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  5. ^ "Chautauqua Movement History". The Colorado Chautauqua. 22 January 2021. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  6. ^ History of Chautauqua, NY
  7. ^ "Stories behind names of many familiar places". Olean Times Herald. February 7, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  8. ^ John Phillips Downs; Fenwick Y Hedley (1921). History of Chautauqua County, New York, and Its People. American Historical Society. p. 11. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  9. ^ "Jamestown / Olean interurbans,"
  10. ^ Helen G. Ebersole, "Lakeside Ledger," July 4, 2018, "The Chautauqua Traction, First Year-Round Navigable Land Route from Jmst. to CHQ."
  11. ^ "Chautauqua Traction Company". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 54 (1). June 1921.
  12. ^ "Pennsylvania Railroad, Table 160". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 78 (12). May 1946.
  13. ^ "The Jamestown Street Railway Trolley Car #93 Restoration Project".
  14. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.

Coordinates: 42°12′35″N 79°28′00″W / 42.20972°N 79.46667°W / 42.20972; -79.46667