Chautauqua County, New York

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Chautauqua County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2000 census, the population was 139,750. Its name may be a contraction of a Seneca Indian word meaning "bag tied in the middle". Its county seat is Mayville.



Chautauqua County was created by partition of Genesee County on 1808-03-11[1]. This partition was performed under the same terms that produced Cattaraugus and Niagara Counties. The partition was performed for political purposes, but the counties were not properly organized, so they were all controlled as part of Niagara County.

On February 9, 1811, Chautauqua was completely organized, and so its separate government was launched[2]. This established Chautauqua as a county of 1,100 square miles (2,848.99 square km) of land. Chautauqua was never altered.


Chautauqua County, in the southwestern corner of New York State, along the New York-Pennsylvania border, is the westernmost of New York's counties. Chautauqua Lake is located in the center of the county, and Lake Erie is its northern border.

Part of the Eastern Continental Divide runs through Chautauqua County. The area that drains into the Conewango Creek (including Chautauqua Lake) eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico; the rest of the county's watershed empties into Lake Erie and out into the North Atlantic Ocean. This divide, known as the Chautauqua Ridge, can be used to mark the border between the Southern Tier and the Niagara Frontier. It is also a significant dividing point in the county's geopolitics, with the "North County" being centered around Dunkirk and the "South County" centered around Jamestown each having their own interests.[3]

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