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Dunkirk, New York

Chadwicks Bay, Ganadawao
Aerial view of Dunkirk, facing north over Lake Erie
Aerial view of Dunkirk, facing north over Lake Erie
Dunkirk, New York is located in New York
Dunkirk, New York
Dunkirk, New York
Location in New York
Dunkirk, New York is located in the United States
Dunkirk, New York
Dunkirk, New York
Location in the United States
Country United States
State New York
County Chautauqua
Government
 • Type Mayor-Council
Area
 • Total 4.55 sq mi (11.79 km2)
 • Land 4.50 sq mi (11.67 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)
Elevation
617 ft (188 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 12,743
 • Estimate 
(2019)
11,756
 • Density 2,609.54/sq mi (1,007.62/km2)
ZIP Code
14048
Area code(s) 716
FIPS code 36-013-21105

Dunkirk is a city in Chautauqua County, New York, in the United States. It was settled around 1805 and incorporated in 1880. The population was 12,743 as of the 2020 census, with an estimated population of 11,756 in 2019. Dunkirk is bordered on the north by Lake Erie. It shares a border with the village of Fredonia to the south, and with the town of Dunkirk to the east and west. Dunkirk is the westernmost city in the state of New York.

History

The Iroquoian languages-speaking Erie people occupied this area of the forested, lakefront along the southern shore of Lake Erie well into the 1600s, when Europeans, mostly French, started trading around the Great Lakes. They were pushed out by the Seneca people, one of the Five Nations of the powerful Iroquois League, based here and further east in New York. The European-American demarcation and settlement of Chadwick Bay and subsequent naming of Dunkirk - after Dunkirk in France - began in earnest in 1826.

The Dunkirk Lighthouse at Point Gratiot was built soon after and still stands. Dunkirk served as a minor railroad hub and steamship port on Lake Erie into the early 1900s. Both freight and passenger ships traveled the lakes.

The city thrived as a steel town for Roebling and others through the 1950s. In addition, it was a manufacturing leader with Plymouth Tube and Nestle Purina PetCare. Its coal-burning Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation plant provided power for the region. Since the 1970s, population has declined following a regional drop in manufacturing as the steel industry and other restructured. Overall employment has declined in the area.

Beginning in the 1980's, the city refocused its economic efforts on revitalizing its pier and fishing, to improve the quality of life for residents and attract more tourists. In addition, in 2016 it attracted a high-tech drug manufacturing project as part of business related to the state project of area investment called the "Buffalo Billion."

Geography

Dunkirk lies on the southeastern shore of Lake Erie and is 45 miles (72 km) southwest of Buffalo.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.6 square miles (11.8 km2), of which 4.5 square miles (11.7 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.10%, is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 5,231
1880 7,248 38.6%
1890 9,416 29.9%
1900 11,616 23.4%
1910 17,221 48.3%
1920 19,336 12.3%
1930 17,802 −7.9%
1940 17,713 −0.5%
1950 18,007 1.7%
1960 18,205 1.1%
1970 16,855 −7.4%
1980 15,310 −9.2%
1990 13,989 −8.6%
2000 13,131 −6.1%
2010 12,563 −4.3%
2020 12,743 1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 12,563 people, 5,477 households, and 3,690 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,774.6 people per square mile (1,119.2 per km2). There were 6,071 housing units at an average density of 1,340.6 per square mile (517.4 per km2). The city's racial makeup of the city was 65.70% White, 5.1% Black or African American, 0.52% Native American, 0.50 Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 9.14% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 26.40% of the population.

There were 5,477 households, out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.4% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.3% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,313, and the median income for a family was $35,058. Males had a median income of $29,462 versus $21,682 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,482. About 18.5% of families and 22.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.0% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Union Depot, Dunkirk, N. Y. Date Created Published- between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900
Union Depot, Dunkirk, between c. 1890 and c. 1900

The Chautauqua County/Dunkirk Airport, in the town of Dunkirk, provides training facilities and charter services.

Freight railroad service in Dunkirk is provided by CSX Transportation (via the Buffalo-Cleveland-Willard (Ohio)-Chicago Main Line) and Norfolk Southern Railway (Buffalo-Cleveland-Fort Wayne-Chicago Main Line). The Lake Shore Limited daily Amtrak passenger train passes through the city but does not stop. Erie Railroad and New York Central trains stopped at one station. Nickel Plate and Pennsylvania Railroad trains stopped at another station. As recently as 1968 the New York Central operated a Buffalo-Chicago daytime train, #51, the former Empire State Express, that made a stop westbound in Dunkirk. Two other daily trains eastbound stopped in Dunkirk, #64 and #90, the former Chicagoan. In the late 1990s Amtrak considered adding the city as a stop between Buffalo and Erie. Dunkirk was listed as a stop with service "to commence on a date to be announced" on several timetables, but the stop was never added.

The New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) passes through the southern edge of the city, with access from Exit 59 (NY Route 60) just east of the city limits. The Thruway leads northeast 42 miles (68 km) to the outskirts of Buffalo and southwest 28 miles (45 km) to the Pennsylvania border. New York State Route 5 runs through the center of the city, leading northeast 9 miles (14 km) to Silver Creek and southwest 18 miles (29 km) to Westfield. New York State Route 60 runs from Dunkirk south, heading toward Jamestown, New York.

Climate

Climate data for Dunkirk, New York (Dunkirk Chautauqua Airport) 1981–2010, extremes 1945–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
(22.2)
71
(21.7)
81
(27.2)
86
(30)
88
(31.1)
94
(34.4)
99
(37.2)
96
(35.6)
96
(35.6)
87
(30.6)
80
(26.7)
71
(21.7)
99
(37.2)
Average high °F (°C) 33.6
(0.89)
35.1
(1.72)
43.1
(6.17)
55.4
(13)
66.3
(19.06)
75.9
(24.39)
79.9
(26.61)
78.7
(25.94)
71.7
(22.06)
60.3
(15.72)
49.7
(9.83)
38.4
(3.56)
57.5
(14.17)
Daily mean °F (°C) 26.7
(-2.94)
27.2
(-2.67)
34.4
(1.33)
45.7
(7.61)
56.2
(13.44)
66.3
(19.06)
70.9
(21.61)
69.5
(20.83)
62.9
(17.17)
52.0
(11.11)
42.4
(5.78)
32.0
(0)
49.0
(9.44)
Average low °F (°C) 19.9
(-6.72)
19.3
(-7.06)
25.6
(-3.56)
36.0
(2.22)
46.1
(7.83)
56.8
(13.78)
62.0
(16.67)
60.4
(15.78)
54.0
(12.22)
43.7
(6.5)
35.2
(1.78)
25.6
(-3.56)
40.5
(4.72)
Record low °F (°C) −16
(-26.7)
−28
(-33.3)
−11
(-23.9)
18
(-7.8)
27
(-2.8)
39
(3.9)
45
(7.2)
43
(6.1)
32
(0)
22
(-5.6)
3
(-16.1)
−12
(-24.4)
−28
(-33.3)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.93
(49)
1.30
(33)
1.94
(49.3)
3.12
(79.2)
3.70
(94)
3.39
(86.1)
4.08
(103.6)
3.79
(96.3)
4.11
(104.4)
3.86
(98)
3.90
(99.1)
2.83
(71.9)
37.95
(963.9)
Source #1: NOAA
Source #2: The Weather Channel

Education

  • A branch of Jamestown Community College is in Dunkirk.
  • Dunkirk High School, home of the Marauders, is part of the public Dunkirk City School District.
  • Northern Chautauqua Catholic School is a K-8th grade school under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

Notable people

  • Samuel Hopkins Adams, author
  • Mark Brazill, creator of That '70s Show
  • Horatio G. Brooks founder of Brooks Locomotive Works
  • June Card, operatic soprano and stage director
  • William L. Carpenter, U.S. Army officer, geologist
  • Richard H. Cosgriff, Union Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor
  • Dave Criscione, retired Major League Baseball catcher
  • Celestine Damiano, former Bishop of Camden
  • Katharine Bement Davis, social reformer
  • Mike DiMuro, MLB umpire
  • Ray DiMuro, retired MLB umpire
  • Francis S. Edwards, former US congressman
  • Mike Friedman, pro-racing cyclist
  • Daniel G. Garnsey, former US congressman
  • Dave Graf, retired NFL linebacker
  • Grasshopper, guitarist and songwriter for seminal alternative rock band Mercury Rev
  • Ross Graves, former New York politician
  • Chad Green, former minor league baseball player
  • H. B. Halicki, director of Gone in 60 Seconds and The Junkman; born in Dunkirk
  • Norm Hitzges, host on Sportsradio 1310 AM and 96.7 FM the Ticket in the Dallas-Fort-Worth area and Texas Radio Hall of Famer
  • Thomas Horan, a Medal of Honor Recipient at the battle of Gettysburg (1863) during the Civil War, was born in Dunkirk in 1839 and died 1902. His grave is at Saint Mary's Cemetery in Dunkirk.
  • Jerry Interval, portrait photographer
  • Teresa Jordan, geologist at Cornell University
  • Richard P. Klocko, Air Force lieutenant general, command pilot, director of Defense Communications Agency
  • John T. McDonough, former Secretary of State of New York
  • Sean Patrick McGraw, country music artist
  • Jim McGuire, former MLB player
  • Mark Merchant, retired minor league baseball player
  • Cindy Miller, pro golfer
  • Van Miller, play-by-play announcer for the Buffalo Bills and WIVB-TV sportscaster
  • Chris Poland, former guitarist of thrash metal band Megadeth
  • Gar Samuelson, former drummer of thrash metal band Megadeth
  • William J. Scheyer, Major general in the Marine Corps during World War II
  • Murray Shelton, member of the College Football Hall of Fame
  • Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times best selling author
  • Elisha Ward, former New York state senator
  • Cory Wells, One of three lead singers of the band Three Dog Night
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