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Dunkirk City

Chautauqua County, New York

Dunkirk City Hall is located at 342 Central Avenue, Dunkirk NY 14048.
Phone: 716‑366‑0452.

Beginnings [1]

The first settlers came to Dunkirk as surveyors marking the western boundary of New York State in 1790. The area at that time was known as Chadwick's Bay, in reference to its natural harbor on Lake Erie. The name Dunkirk was given to the village by Elisha Jenkins, a trustee of the Dunkirk Land Company and a proprietor of the village. After conducting business in France, Jenkins renamed Chadwick's Bay for the bay at Dunkirk, France. Dunkirk was incorporated as a village in 1837.

Much of Dunkirk's history has been the result of canal and railroad expansion. Dunkirk was settled predominantly by those who hoped it would become the western terminus of the Erie Canal. After much speculation, Buffalo was chosen over Dunkirk in 1841. The shops maintained by the railroad stimulated the local economy until 1869 when the Erie Railroad moved to Buffalo. The shops were reopened in 1870 as the Brooks Locomotive Works, later to become the American Locomotive Company. The town's industrial base was strengthened further when the Atlas Crucible Steel Company came to Dunkirk in 1891.

  1. Gobrecht, Larry, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Dunkirk Post Office, in United States Post Offices in New York State -- 1858-1943, thematic resources, nomination document, 1986, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.