Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The History of Chautauqua County's largest City
The first white man to seriously consider the place now Jamestown as a possible site for settlement was James Prendergast, and it is from him that the city takes its name. The members of the Prendergast family were prominent in the early history of the county, and had in 1806 bought 3,500 acres of land in the vicinity of Mayville, and were rapidly clearing away the forest. James Prendergast, the youngest of the family of eleven children, was sent out to find a team of horses which had strayed away, and before catching up with them at what is now Rutledge, Cattaraugus county, had traversed the great pine tree region of the Conewango Valley, Kiantone, one of the granaries of the Six Nations, and a great deal of the then unbroken wilderness now Southern Chautauqua county.
To such a man as James Prendergast proved to be, his view of the magnificent pine forests must have impressed him with a conception of their great future value, as with rare judgment he chose the site for mills, home and future city. Two years after his discovery of the Outlet and rapids, he made his first purchase of land, his brother, under the instructions of James Prendergast, purchasing 1,000 acres, the present boat landing being about the centre of that tract, two dollars per acre the purchase price.
In the early fall of 1809, James Prendergast visited his purchase with a trusted employe, John Blowers, to whom he confided his plans for founding a settlement and engaging in the manufacture of lumber by utilizing the water power of the outlet. Blowers evidently thought well of the plan, for in 1810 he erected a small log cabin on the banks of the outlet, an event of historic importance, for it was the first building erected on the site of Jamestown. Later, a story and a half log house was built on the banks of the outlet for the use of James Prendergast and family. Then followed a dam for water power, a saw mill, a grist mill, and so Jamestown's foundations were laid.
But the "kicker" arrived soon afterward, and it is astounding to learn that in 1812 James Prendergast was indicted by the grand jury for erecting this dam "to the great injury and common nuisance of the liege citizens of the State." He was found guilty, and fined fifteen dollars and substantial costs. He removed the dam, rebuilding on a new site where it was evidently not considered a "common nuisance." In December, 1812, Captain William Forbes came, moving into the second log house built by James Prendergast, the location of that house on now Cherry street, between First and Second streets. The first frame house was built by John Blowers, who built the first log house. This building was finished in 1813, and was also the first tavern in the town and known as the Blowers House, in honor of its first proprietor. The house was sold in 1814 to Dr. Laban Hazeltine, and occupied by him as a residence for nearly forty years. No trace now remains. Fire destroyed the Prendergast early mills, but they were quickly rebuilt. The second war with Great Britain also interferred with the growth of the settlement, and a second time the Prendergast buildings were destroyed by fire, but James Prendergast clung to his belief in the value of the location, never lost his courage, and finally settlers began to arrive, the outlet was bridged and other improvements followed.
In the spring of 1815 the first operations in real estate began. A number of lots fifty by one hundred twenty feet were surveyed and placed on the market at $50 each, and we are told that $50 was the ruling price for a lot for a period of about ten years, beginning with 1815. Under existing conditions this was enough, for there was little, about the location in and of itself to attract any but the adventurous pioneer. Indeed, Jamestown in 1815 was little more than a crude lumber camp, as will be readily seen from the perusal of a sketch written by Judge Foote, who describes the village as follows:
A one and one-half story gristmill building, with two runs of stones, two single sawmills and one gang sawmill, all owned by James Prendergast. There was one small store of goods owned by Jediah and Martin Prendergast, of Mayville, managed by Thomas Disher, a clerk. Two small shanty blacksmith shops were occupied by Eleazer Daniels and Patrick Campbell, and a small out of doors tannery owned by John Burge and James Rice. The chief business was cutting lum-ber. In November, 1815, there were thirteen families living on Jamestown territory, occupying rude cabins, and some men without families. A few families lived in adjacent territory; one in the extreme northwestern corner of the city limits, and two or three at Cass Mills (East Jamestown).
Among the early settlers whose names must always be included in any list of the "founders of Jamestown" are these: Abner Hazeltine, Daniel Hazeltine, Samuel Barrett, Samuel A. Brown, Thos. W. Harvey, Royal Keyes, Rufus Pier, Wm. Hall, Silas Tiffany, Doctor Foote, Horace Allen, Col. Augustus F. Allen, Dascum Allen, Col. Henry Baker, Adolphus Fletcher, Solomon and Ellick Jones, Chas. R. Harvey, Silas Shearman, Geo. W. Tew, Wm. H. Tew, Woodley W. Chandler, and John W. Winsor.
The settlement was locally known as "Prendergast Mills" and "The Rapids," but in 1815 the name "Jamestown" was adopted, and a year or so later a post office was established and Jamestown was a fixture on the maps of the county.
By 1827 the number of settlers had increased to such an extent that the desirability of a village government was manifest, and an act of incorporation passed by the Legislature became a law March 6, 1827. The first village election was held at the home of Solomon Jones and these officers were elected: Trustees, Thomas W. Harvey, Jediah E. Budlong, Daniel Hazeltine, Jr., Samuel Barrett, Alvin Plumb; treasurer, Samuel A. Brown; clerk, George W. Tew; collector, R. F. Fenton. After the election, B. T. Foote, Horace Allen, S. A. Brown, Abner Hazeltine and Joseph Waite were appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws, and when their work was completed Jamestown was ready to assume the duties and responsibilities of a village.
The act incorporating the village of Jamestown was drawn with great care. In terse language, the act defined the rights and prescribed the duties of the inhabitants and officials, and all in all was a very satisfactory scheme of government, as may be inferred from the fact that the principles that were then laid down were in a large degree adhered to in the amendments made from time to time to meet the demands of a growing village.
To adequately protect the village from the ravages of fire was one of the first duties of the newly formed village government, and to provide fire protection a meeting was held July 5, 1827. At that meeting it was decided to raise $300 by tax. Eventually it was raised, and August 31, 1829, the first fire company was organized-Fire Company No. 1. This company had a little hand pump which was hauled to the nearest reservoir at the outbreak of a fire, and with a dozen muscular young men on the brakes did more or less effective work. The first officers of this company were: Ellick Jones, captain; William H. Tew, captain's mate; Phineas Palmeter, Jr., engineer; James H. Culver, assistant engineer. All these officers were prominent citizens. Ellick Jones, the captain, was the father of Orsino E. Jones. It is evident from a perusal of the early village records that the purchase of equipment for the department, the management of the same and the selection of officers, cut quite a figure in the politics of the village, and the minutes of a meeting held May 13, 1844, show that the main topic for consideration was a fire department controversy.
The first system of fire protection consisted of a series of small storage reservoirs located in various sections of the village. Crude hand engines supplied water pressure for hose, and thus the villagers were able to cope with an ordinary blaze. With the growth of the village came the demand for additional reservoirs and engines and to meet this demand hose companies and engine companies were organized from time to time. The first engine company, Engine Company No. 1, was later known as Deluge Engine Company, and claims the distinction of being the oldest in the volunteer department. This claim was sharply disputed by the Ellicott Hook and Ladder Company, and there are no records available which decisively settle this dispute, although an impartial investigation which was conducted in August, 1892, resulted in a decision that the Deluge Company was entitled to claim the seniority.
The order in which the present companies of the department were organized is as follows: Deluge Engine Company, Ellicott Hook and Ladder Company, Rescue Hose Company, Eagle Hose Company, Prendergast Hose Company, Jeffords Hose Company, Fire Police, Martyn Hose Company.
The village grew so rapidly that in a few years it was found impracticable to adequately protect the buildings with the reservoir scheme, and a private company constructed a simple system of water works with mains running through the business section of Main street. Pressure was supplied by a large steam pump and thus the business section of the village was fairly well protected, residents of the outlying portions of the village still relying on the reservoirs and hand engines.
In 1886, a general system of water works was projected. This system covered the entire town, and with powerful steam pumps provided ample pressure for all localities. Then the old hand engines were laid away forever, and the volunteer firemen assumed the task of protecting the property of the village under more favorable auspices. In turn, the volunteer department gave way to the modern paid department with motor equipment on engines, hose carts and hook and ladder trucks. There are six fire stations with the most modern fire alarm system, having boxes all over the city. Fire headquarters are at No. 1 Spring street, Howard S. Rodgers, chief (July, 1920.)
The documents prepared by the Chautauqua County Bank in 1831, in which they applied for a charter from the Legislature, set forth these reasons why a charter should be granted:
In 1816 there was no post office within twenty miles of Jamestown, where it is proposed to locate this bank.
The City of Jamestown.
Population of Jamestown, January, 1827, 393.
Population of Jamestown, June, 1930, 884.
It has now eleven stores, one woolen factory, one sash factory, one gristmill with three fun of stones. one gang sawmill, three common sawmills, two printing offices, and a great number of mechanic establishments. A steamboat of eighty tons burden plies daily between Jamestown and Mayville on the Chautauqua Lake. One of the Lake Erie steamboats is solely employed in doing the business of Chautauqua county.
Jamestown is ninety miles on the route usually traveled, from the nearest banking institution in this State (United States Branch Bank at Buffalo). The bank at Lockport is the nearest State institution. There is no bank in the southern tier of counties from Orange to Lake Erie.
The lumber included in this estimate is produced in a territory about the size of Chautauqua which is partly in this county, partly in the county of Cattaraugus, and partly in the State of Pennsylvania, and of which Jamestown is the commercial center.
The county of Chautauqua ranks among the first in the State for size, commercial advantages, and fertility of soil. It has no large swamps nor barren mountains, and is probably capable of supporting as numerous and dense a population as any in the State.
The charter for this bank was granted April 18, 1831. The institution was organized under the safety fund act, with a capital of $100,000, and the privilege of issuing bills to twice the amount of the capital. The first directors were Leverett Barker, John G. Saxton, William Peacock, James Hall, Samuel Barrett, Jediah E. Budlong, Oliver Lee, Thomas Campbell, Daniel Shearman, Elial T. Foote, Alvin Plumb, Abner Hazeltine, Richard P. Marvin. The first officers were Elial T. Foote, president, with an allowance of one cent for each bill signed by him, and Arad Joy, cashier, with an annual salary of $550.
The prudent, conservative policies adopted by the founders of this bank have always been strictly adhered to not only by their successors but also by the officials of the other excellent banking institutions which in the course of time followed, and it is a pleasure to record the fact that there has never been a bank failure in Jamestown, and that all the banks have at all times maintained the most harmonious relations with each other. The present banks of the city (1920) are the Chautauqua County National Bank; First National Bank; American National Bank; Bank of Jamestown; Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank; Liberty National Bank; Union Trust Company.
James Prendergast, with his rare foresight, early realized the temporary character of the lumber manufacturing business, and did everything possible to induce manufacturers in other lines to settle in Jamestown. This policy has always been adhered to, and new industries have been liberally dealt with, the result that Jamestown is a manufacturing city, its growth due to the development of industrial enterprise.
The first manufacturing industry of which there is any record was a small cabinet-making shop started by Royal Keyes about 1815. The same year the Chautauqua Manufacturing Company was organized for the manufacture of cloth, and each year has seen the number increase until to-day (July 6, 1920) Jamestown manufactures in city and suburbs, wood and metal furniture, voting machines, washing machines, pianos, paving brick, wrenches, woolen dress goods, suitings, towels, window screens, blinds, tools, rubbing, carving and sanding machines, mirrors, automobile running gears complete, veneer, and bee hives. The census (State) of 1915 gives the names of 96 principal manufacturing firms and states that there are 73 smaller factories-in all employing 6,616 men, 1,785 women, 141 children and 561 office workers. The largest employing concern was the Art Metal Construction Company, with two plants and 1,130 hands; the William Brodhead Mills second, with 809; and the Salisbury Wheel and Manufacturing Company, 335.
The furniture factories employ by far the greater number of hands, 70 factories and about 5,000 people being engaged in that line of manufacture, the city ranking second in the manufacture of wood furniture. Twice a year a furniture market is held, hundreds of buyers coming to the city to select and place orders. A nine-story furniture exposition building has been erected, in which the goods are displayed and large additions are now planned. The worsted and woolen of Jamestown and Falconer are known through their products all over the land and have added greatly to the wealth of the city. At this writing, five years after the State census from which the foregoing figures are taken, there are 263 factories in and around Jamestown. representing a great variety of industries.
Jamestown has always possessed a high grade of retail and wholesale merchants, and its stores of all kinds are modern examples of merchandising. The seven financial institutions of the city have ably played their part in the development of manufacturing and merchandising and the diversified industries of the city have attracted a very desirable class of citizens, of whom a large percentage own their own homes.
The first railroad to reach the village of Jamestown was the Atlantic & Great Western, now a part of the Erie system, which ran its first train into the city August 23, 1860. Jamestown is now on the main line of the Erie between Chicago and New York, and is the southern terminal of the Buffalo & Southwestern branch of the Erie, and in close touch by street cars with the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh railroad at Falconer, that road beginning at Dunkirk and terminating at Titusyule, Pennsylvania. Jamestown is connected with the New York Central system by the Jamestown, Westfield & Northwestern railway and the Chautauqua Traction Company, the lines of these roads extending from Jamestown to Westfield on both sides of Chautauqua Lake. At Mayville, connection is made with the Pennsylvania system. The Jamestown Street Railway serves the cities, Celoron and Falconer. The Warren & Jamestown Street Railway Company connects Jamestown with Warren, Pennsylvania, while excursion steamers make frequent trips around the lake touching at the various landings.
Jamestown took upon herself the dignity of a city, April 19, 1886, after nearly a year spent in the discussion of the details incident to the preparation of a city charter. The committee of ten appointed to draft a charter was: Robert N. Marvin, A. N. Broadhead, F. E. Gifford, Porter Sheldon, John T. Wilson, Orsino E. Jones, John J. Whitney, James I. Fowler, Jerome Preston and Oscar F. Price. The proposed charter, perfected to the satisfaction of all, was passed by the Legislature March 31, 1886, the act was signed by Governor David B. Hill, and Jamestown became a city. By the provisions of this charter the city was divided into five wards. The legislative branch was vested in a common council or board of aldermen, with two representatives from each ward. The executive authority was vested in the mayor. The first election was held April 13, 1886, and resulted as follows: Mayor, Oscar F. Price; city clerk, Fred R. Peterson; Aldermen, First Ward, Adam Ports, John G. Wicks; Second Ward, W. T. Bradshaw, T. E. Grandin: Third Ward, C. F. Hedman, J. S. Ellis; Fourth Ward, Conrad A. Hult, E. F. Carpenter; Fifth Ward, H. S. Hall, E. R. Bootey; police justice, Henry J. Yates; justices of the peace, Marshall P. Strunk, DeForest D. Woodford, Egburt E. Woodbury, Herbert U. Bain; assessors, James C. Swanson, John W. Johnson, John M. Farnham. There was no contest for the office of mayor. The total vote was 1,950, of which number Mr. Price received 1,780.
The change from a village to a city took place on the evening of April 19, 1886, on which occasion the old board of trustees met, canvassed the vote of the election and declared the result. In retiring, Major Hiram Smith, one of the trustees, took occasion to review briefly the past history of Jamestown and express his confidence in the ability and integrity of the newly elected officials.
In addition to the usual city officials, Jamestown has a board of estimate and review, a board of water and lighting commissioners, a board of hospital commissioners, a board of park and city planning commissioners, and a civil service commission.
Jamestown was one of the pioneer cities of New York in advocating municipal ownership of public utilities. Just what has been accomplished is best set forth in an address of welcome delivered by Mayor Samuel A. Carison to the New York State Conference of Mayors and Other City Officials in session in Jamestown the week of July 4, 1920:
It is fitting that you should meet here because Jamestown is one of the cities in which many successful experments in municipal democracy have been made.
We invite you to inspect our municipally owned water works which is self-sustaining and which, notwithstanding our high hills and high cost of labor and material has continued to supply our citizens with the purest water on earth at the low cost of one cent per barrel.
We invite you to examine our municipally owned lighting system by the means of which we are able to supply electric light at 4½c per K. W. And we call your attention to the fact that notwithstanding this low rate, the plant pays all expenses, all interest and principal on bonds and makes proper allowance for depreciation. The plant has never cost the taxpayers a dollar, except the $48.00 per year charge for each street light, and it has met the test and scrutiny of every antagonistic expert investigator.
We invite you to look over our municipally owned public market system and buitding which has paid for itself without any tax assistance and which is patronized by thousands of our people every week.
We invite you to inspect our municipally owned hospital which is maintained at a cost to the city of less than one cent per week per capita, and in which 15,000 persons have been treated since its establishment ten years ago. We hold that it is just as much the function of city government to rescue a citizen's life from the menace of disease as it is to rescue his property from the menace of fire.
We invite you to inspect our municipally owned sand and gravel pit and our municipally constructed pavements, by which we have eliminated the profiteering element usually imposed by contractors.
We invite you to visit our beautiful parks, our institutions of worship and social uplift, our Chadakoin Valley, filled with thriving industries, and our hillsides covered with homes owned by those who toil in these industries. Wherever you find home-owners you find no Bolsheviki.
We call your attention to the annual publication of our entire assessment roll, which enables our whole taxpaying citizenship to constitute itself into a board of review. Less than 1 per cent, of our total tax levy remains uncollected in any year.
We call your attention to our sanitary method of handling garbage by which each householder is required to wrap his garbage in paper bundles thereby minimizing the task of its collection and rendering it suitable for consumption by some 500 hogs, making an inexpensive substitute for a disposal plant.
Our milk supply is subject to a bacteriological test at a laboratory conducted by our Health Department.
And all our health regulations are such that Jamestown now enjoys, I believe, the lowest death rate of any city in this State. We put the emphasis on a low death rate rather than a low tax rate.
We call your attention to the fact that we have successfully put into practice the referendum method of determining important questions of public policy on which citizens are divided in opinion.
And all commissioners in charge of our public utilities are appointed without any reference whatsoever to partisan politics.
Had this speech been delivered about six weeks later, Mayor Carison could have referred to the municipal milk plant which was voted at a special election held in August, 1920.
These innovations did not come easily or quickly, but through the public-spirited leaders and the determination of the citizens. The municipal lighting plant was won after a long fight, and at a special election held September 26, 1890, three propositions were submitted to the voters of Jamestown- one to issue bonds for the construction of a sewer system, carried; another, to issue bonds for paving, lost; another, to issue bonds for the equipment of an electric light plant. Bonds were issued and sold at a premium, the contract for the construction and equipment of the plant was let, and on July 4, 1891, at 9 p. m., the machinery was started and electric lights flashed up in all parts of the city. During the evening a demonstration was arranged in honor of George M. Martyn, one of the leaders in the fight, and later a considerable sum was subscribed by his friends, and a bronze drinking fountain was erected at the corner of Main and Third streets.
The sewer system was begun at the corner of Sprague and West Second streets on the morning of April 11, 1893, and paving followed naturally. A determined effort was made in 1893 to secure the removal of the county seat from Mayville to Jamestown. but on submission of the question to the voters of the county the proposition was lost, there being 282 votes cast "against" in Jamestown, which had they been cast "for" would have brought the county seat to Jamestown. The city quietly acquiesced in the decision and at once began the erection of a City Hall, costing $85,000, the cornerstone being laid with Masonic ceremonies, September 28, 1895.
Public improvements followed fast, and finally an abundant and unfailing water supply became the great unsolved problem. The Jamestown Water Supply Company had surceeded to the earlier rights and franchises granted by village trustees and city aldermen, and had a plant which gave the city satisfactory pressure for fire protection, and there was no objection to the quality of the water or the service. But municipal water service was demanded and a committee was appointed to investigate the two plants which had been bought-the purchase of the plant of the Jamestown Water Supply Company and the erection of a new plant. The committee employed J. F. Witmer, a hydraulic engineer, who began his work January 21, 1901, reported in September, 1901, and negotiations were opened for the purchase of the plant of the water company. A proposition to purchase the plant for $600,000 was submitted to the voters, a bill was enacted creating a water commission, bonds of the city were sold, and on April 1, 1903, the city took possession of its own water supply system.
The source of supply is at Levant, three or four miles east of the city. Artesian wells tap an unfailing supply of pure and cold water. This supply has been constant even during the greatest drought and it is believed it will be ample to supply the city for all time to come.
Oscar F. Price was mayor of Jamestown from its incorporation as a city until 1894, when he retired, and Eleazer Green was elected by practically a unanimous vote. Mr. Green had for some years been one of the leading attorneys of the city and an active and aggressive Republican. In an appreciative and timely biographical sketch, the "Journal" said: "His nomination was a recognition of his fitness, progressive business spirit and sterling integrity, and his overwhelming election was further proof of the trust reposed in him. No man could enter upon his official career with greater evidence of esteem and confidence than does Mr. Green. He was selected with the expectation that the city would be conducted in a business manner, and that there should be a clean, creditable administration."
Mayor Green took the oath of office in the Common Council chamber May 7, 1894. On that occasion Mayor Price presented to Mayor Green the handsome silver tipped gavel which he had received so many years ago, and said he was glad to surrender this emblem of authority to a man of honor and ability. "Since coming to this council eleven years ago," said Mayor Price, "the city has more than doubled its population. This has been due to the enterprise of her citizens and to the wisdom of those who have shaped its destiny during the early days of its cityhood."
In the fall of 1895 Mr. Green was elected district attorney of Chautauqua county, assuming the duties of the office January 1, 1896. He therefore retired from office upon the expiration, and was succeeded as mayor by Oscar F. Price, his predecessor, who two years later was succeeded by Henry H. Cooper, who took the oath of office April 11, 1898. In the spring of 1900, Mayor Cooper was succeeded by J. Emil Johnson, during whose administration the municipal water plant was acquired.
In 1908 Samuel A. Carison was elected mayor of Jamestown and in 1920 he began his seventh term as chief executive of the city-.
The following table gives the population of Jamestown from 1827 down to the last census: 1827, 393; 1830, 884; 1840, 1,212; 1845, 1,642; 1855, 2,625; 1860, 3,155; 1870, 5,336; 1880, 9,357; 1890, 16,038; 1892, 18,627; 1900, 22,892; 1905, 26,160; 1910, 31,297; 1915, 37,780; 1920, 38,898, corrected, 38,917.
The schools of Jamestown are included in the educational chapter, Dr. Rovillus R. Rogers, editor. Jamestown is a city of churches, and perhaps no city in the State has in proportion to its population as large a religious element or as many imposing church edifices. Rev. Eliot C. Hall in 1900 prepared a brief sketch of Jamestown's church history, which is here quoted, as it contains all the essential facts concerning the various church denominations:
The early settlers were, for the most part, interested in religious matters, and favored the formation of churches. Many meetings, however, were held before any church was formed, and no minister of any denomination visited the place without being invited to preach.
The First Congregational Church was organized in 1816 by Rev. John Spencer, a missionary from Connecticut, and legally incorporated in 1821.
A Methodist class was formed at Worksburg in 1814, and a Congregational church in what is now Kiantone, in 1815. (Both Worksburg and Kiantone were then in the town of Ellicott, in which township Jamestown was also located.) A building formerly used for school purposes known as the Old Academy served as a place of worship until the year 1828, when a church building was erected on the southwest corner of Main and Fifth streets.
A commodious brick church edifice was erected in 1869 on East Third street, which has been enlarged and remodeled and is now used by this church.
Rev. Isaac Eddy was the first pastor of the church. The present First Methodist Episcopal Church grew out of the class formed at Worksburg in 1814. This class was duly organized into a church arid moved to Jamestown in 1823. Their first church edifice was erected at the junction of Second and Chandler streets, and completed in 1833. They now occupy a fine brick structure which has a seating capacity of about 1,500. This church has had a remarkably vigorous growth, and has the largest membership of any of the Englishspeaking churches of the city.
The First Baptist Church was organized in 1832. Their first church edifice was built in 1833. The present building, constructed of Warsaw blue stone, is one of the finest in the city. It is situated at the corner of Fourth and Church streets and is a monument to the zeal and devotion of both pastor and people.
The First Presbyterian Church was organized in 1834 by Rev. E. J. Gillett, forty-one members of the Congregational church having withdrawn to unite in its formation. In 1837 a substantial church edifice was built of wood, on the corner of West Third and Cherry streets. This building was burned in 1877, but was replaced by a large and commodious brick edifice, the interior of which was destroyed by fire in 1890. The building was immediately rebuilt with all modern conveniences and facilities for church work. The church has a large and growing membership, and has been ably served by its pastors.
St. Luke's Protestant Episcopal Church was organized in 1834, but was without a stated pastor until the year 1853, when Rev. Levi W. Norton took charge of this parish. The first church building of wood, erected on the corner of Main and Fourth streets, was consecrated in 1856. This building was burned in 1862 and replaced by a second building upon the same foundation in 1865. The present beautiful church edifice was the munificent gift of the late Mrs. Mary A. Prendergast, as a memorial to her daughter, Catherine. It is constructed of Medina sandstone, is fire-proof and complete in all its equipments. It has a clock tower which contains the only chime of bells in the city.
The Free Methodist Church was incorporated in 1874, the outgrowth of a class formed in 1871. The present church building was erected in 1884 on the corner of Lincoln and East Seventh streets.
SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church occupies a fine stone building on the corner of West Sixth and Cherry streets. For a number of years Jamestown was part of a large parish embracing several towns served by one church official. In 1874 a separate parish was formed here under the care of Rev. Father Richard Coyle, under whose wise administration the church greatly prospered.
The English Lutheran Church has a modest brick house of worship on West Fourth street. The church was organized by Rev. S. G. Weiskotten in 1877.
The First Unitarian Church was organized by Rev. J. G. Townsend as an Independent Congregational Church in 1885. Its church property at the junction of East Second and Chandler streets was purchased from the First Methodist Episcopal Church and completely remodeled and refurnished.
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was organized in 1882 as a Union Church, but subsequently placed itself under the care of the African Methodist Episcopal Conference. It has a new church building on its lot on Spring street.
The Seventh Day Adventists have a church building on Cherry street.
The First Church of Christ (Scientist) has a unique church building on the corner of East Fourth street and Prendergast avenue.
A Primitive Methodist Church has recently been organized, and a house of worship erected on Allen street.
The Brooklyn Heights Methodist Episcopal Church has a neat house of worship on the corner of Sprague and Palmer streets.
The Salvation Army holds services in both the English and Swedish languages. There are also six chapels where Sunday Schools and occasional preaching services are held.
There is also a Spiritualistic and a Theosophic Society which meet by appointment in different places.
Jamestown has a large Swedish population, and they are largely a church-going people. A Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church was formed here as early as 1852. This church now occupies a fine brick structure on the corner of Chandler street and Foote avenue.
The First Swedish Lutheran Church was organized in 1857. Rev. Carl Otto Hultgren, D. D., became pastor in 1864. A large and imposing Medina sand stone church building is located on Chandler street.
The Swedish Mission Church was organized in 1879 and has recently erected a fine brick building on Chandler street.
The Swedish Christian Zion Church was organized by members who withdrew from the Mission Church and have a fine brick house of worship on College street.
The Swedish Immanuel Lutheran Church was formed from members who withdrew from the First Lutheran Church in 1887. They have a commodious brick church on East Second street.
A Danish service is held each Sunday in the Congregational church on Institute street.
Since the above was written, the Pilgrim Memorial Church has been located on McKinley and Forest avenues. The Salvation Army has a handsome citadel on the corner of Spring and Third streets. The Calvary Baptist Church is located at the corner of Ashville and Livingston avenues. The Swedish Baptist Church is located on Chandler street. St. James' Church, Roman Catholic, is situated on Victoria avenue. Holy Trinity, English Lutheran, is located on Fourth street, between North Main and Cherry. Buffalo Street Methodist Episcopal Church, at Buffalo and Falconer streets. Grace United Brethren Church at North Main and Fourteenth streets.
The newspapers of the city are:
The Chautauqua Democrat (weekly). Published by the Jamestown Evening News Company.
The Evening Journal. Published daily except Sunday, at 12 West Second street by The Journal Printing Company, Frederick P. Hall, president and general manager; James A. Clary, vice-president and managing editor; Henri M. Hall, treasurer and business manager.
The Jamestown Journal. Twice-a-week, published at 12 West Second street, by The Journal Printing Company (for officers see above); established 1826.
The Morning Post. Published daily except Sunday at 311-313 Washington street, by The Post Publishing Company, Ralph C. Sheldon, president; Edward L. Allen, secretary and managing editor; Robert K. Beach, treasurer and business manager. Established in 1901.
The Evening News. Published daily except Sunday, by the Jamestown Evening News Company, Inc. 307 Spring.
The St. Clairsville Commercial. Published every Thursday by The Jamestown Evening News Company.
The Vart Land (Swedish). Published at 307 Spring street every Thursday by the Vart Land Company, F. G. Curtis, president; S. A. Carlson, secretary.
Skandia (Swedish). Published every Thursday by Liberty Printing Company, 14 West Second; C. E. Lindstone, editor.
The Union Advocate. Published every Thursday by The Jamestown Evening News Company, 307 Spring.
The Furniture Index. Devoted to furniture trade, and published once a month by the Furniture Trade Publishing Company.
The following are the philanthropic institutions of the city:
The Woman's Christian Association Hospital, corner Foote avenue and Allen street, one of the best in the country, and supported largely by voluntary contributions.
Gustavus Adolphus Orphans' Home, 1381 East Second street. This institution is controlled by the Lutheran Augustana Synod (Swedish).
During the year 1911 the O. E. Jones Memorial Hospital, erected on a tract of ground willed to the city by O. E. Jones, was opened to the public.
Jamestown has a number of handsome public buildings, viz.: Federal building, City Hall, James Prendergast Library and Art Gallery; State Armory.
The Young Men's Christian Association owns a building and plant valued at $100,000, and the Young Woman's Christian Association a handsome building, which with lot cost $65,000.
The Agnes Association owns a large brick residence and grounds which is conducted as a boarding home for working girls.
The Warner Home for the Aged, the latest of Jamestown's benevolent institutions, had its beginning in 1911 and received at the hands of Mrs. Mary H. Warner the L. B. Warner homestead in Forest avenue as a memorial to Mr. Warner, who died in 1905.
A comprehensive park system has been planned and a park commission composed of public-spirited citizens who have given and are giving much time gratuitously to the work of developing these parks into beauty spots that will be a credit to the city. One of the largest of these parks is the Allen Park located on the south side, a most picturesque and beautiful spot.
What is known as the "Hundred Acre Lot," a woodland lying on the borders of the city has been acquired, through public subscription, for the particular benefit of the pupils of the public schools.
There are two parks on the north side, one between West Fourth and West Fifth streets, known as Baker Park, and the other between West Sixth and West Seventh streets, known as Dow Park.
The Soldiers' Memorial Park, the purchase of which was authorized at a taxpayers' election in the spring of 1919, has been turned over to the local American Legion Post as a Memorial Home for Jamestown's soldiers. This park was formerly the Governor Fenton Homestead, is near the center of the city and with the mansion and grounds is a very fitting memorial to the soldier boys.
The Jones Memorial Park is on the shores of Chautauqua lake outlet. It is still in a rough state but in time will be made into a modern park.
The area of the city is approximately nine and one-half square miles, or 6,136 acres. There are more than 33 miles of paving, mostly shale brick, although some of the business streets are paved with bitulithic and asphalt block.
The assessed valuation of the city in 1908 was $13,347,981; in 1909, $13,498,331; in 1910, $14,133,149; in 1912, $16,046,366; in 1913, $16,981,395; in 1914, $16,455,020; in 1915, $17,713,396, and in 1918, $23,850,405.
On the settlement of the affairs of James Prendergast, son of Alexander T. and grandson of James Prendergast, the founder of Jamestown, whose funeral was held December 26, 1879, a brief memoranda was found which requested that the business block at the corner of Main and Third streets should be made available as an endowment for a free public library. On January 2, 1880, The James Prendergast Library Association was incorporated, and January 3, the association was duly organized and took title to the property. Mary (Norton) Prendergast, mother of James and wife of Alexander T. Prendergast, and the last survivor of the family, died in Rochester, December 22, 1889. By will she devised the by far greater part of her estate to public purposes. The various Prendergast bequests are as follows:
The James Prendergast Library (which has extended notice in chapter on Libraries) was completed at a cost of $60,000, and furnished with an art gallery costing $45,000. The grounds upon which the building is located cover an entire city square in one of the best residence districts of the city. It was opened to the puiDlic, December 1, 1891, and then contained 8,666 volumes, a number which has been constantly increased during the twenty-nine years the Library has been in existence,
A bronze drinking fountain erected near one of the main entrances to Lake View Cemetery at a cost of $2,000.
The magnificent St. Luke's Episcopal Church edifice, erected at a cost of $125,000.
The sum of $2,000 set aside and the income derived therefrom is divided annually into four prizes to be paid to students in the Jamestown schools for superior merit in scholarship, the same to be determined by competitive examinations.
The sum of $500 set aside and the income derived therefrom is expended in the purchase of books for the library of the Mission Sunday School conducted under the auspices of the Woman's Christian Association.
The rental of the Prendergast building at the corner of Main and Third streets provides an income sufficient to defray the operating expenses of the library. Thus it will be seen that the Prendergast family imposed no restrictions, for they not only built the library but they equipped it, and provided an endowment sufficleat to support it for all time to come-a truly royal gift.
The general welfare of the city of Jamestown is promoted by a Chamber of Commerce, a Manufacturers' Association and lesser business organizations. The fraternal orders are well represented, the Elks, Eagles, Odd Fellows and Masonic orders all being well housed in their own buildings. There are many literary, musical, art and social clubs.
The leading clubs are the -Jamestown Norden and Mozart, the list, however, being capable of great extension. There is a chapter of the Sons of the Revolution located in the city and a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Other patriotic orders are: James Hall Camp, No. 11, Sons of Veterans; James M. Brown Post, No. 285, G. A. R.; Woman's Relief Corps, No. 73; Encampment No. 95, Union Veteran Legion; Auxiliary No. 24, Ladies of the Union Veteran Legion; Ira Lou Spring Post, American Legion.
There are lodges of the Scandinavian Fraternal Association of America, Swedish Brotherhood, Swedish Sisterhood, Sons of St. George, Daughters of St. George, and many others, social, athletic, religious and fraternal.
History of Jamestown, NY
FROM: History of Chautauqua County, New York and its people
John P. Downs - Editor-in-Charge.
Fenwick Y. Hedley Editor-in-Chief.
Published By American Historical Society, Inc. 1921