kids encyclopedia robot

Fredonia, New York facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Fredonia, New York
Post Office, Fredonia, NY
Post Office, Fredonia, NY
Fredonia, New York is located in New York
Fredonia, New York
Fredonia, New York
Location in New York
Country United States
State New York
County Chautauqua
Town Pomfret
 • Total 5.19 sq mi (13.44 km2)
 • Land 5.19 sq mi (13.44 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
722 ft (220 m)
 • Total 11,230
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,985.55/sq mi (766.62/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 716
FIPS code 36-27419
GNIS feature ID 0950652

Fredonia is a village in Chautauqua County, New York, United States. The population was 11,230 as of the 2010 census. Fredonia is in the town of Pomfret south of Lake Erie. The village is the home of the State University of New York at Fredonia (in the northwest part of the village).

Fredonia is one of only twelve villages in New York still incorporated under a charter, the other villages having incorporated or re-incorporated under the provisions of Village Law.


The area which is now Fredonia was most likely first occupied by early Mound Builders, then the Erie people (13th to 17th centuries), then the Iroquois (specifically, the Seneca). In 1791, Robert Morris purchased the Fredonia land from Massachusetts and sold it to the Holland Land Company. Parcels were sold to pioneers around 1800, and the first settlers came around 1803 or 1804.

In 1821, William Hart dug the first well specifically to produce natural gas in the United States on the banks of Canadaway Creek in Fredonia. It was 27 feet (8.2 m) deep, excavated with shovels by hand, and its gas pipeline was hollowed out logs sealed with tar and rags. It supplied enough natural gas for lights in two stores, two shops and a gristmill (currently the village's fire station) by 1825. Expanding on Hart's work, the Fredonia Gas Light Company was formed in 1858, becoming the first American natural gas company. The site of the first gas well is marked by a stone monument in downtown Fredonia.

The village of Fredonia was incorporated in 1829. The original name for the area was Canadaway (from the Indian word Ganadawao, meaning "among the hemlocks"). The name "Fredonia" was coined by Samuel Latham Mitchill, coupling the English word "freedom" with a Latin ending. He proposed it as a replacement name for the United States. It failed in that regard, but became the name of many towns and cities.

Established within 20 years of the founding of Fredonia, the Fredonia Academy was the first higher educational institution in Chautauqua County. It was started in 1824 and opened in 1826. The academy became a State Normal School in 1866. On August 8, 1867, the cornerstone of the Fredonia Normal School was laid on a site where the Old Main building stands today. The Normal School used the academy's building, which stood on the site of the present village hall, until the Old Normal was completed in 1868. The Fredonia Normal School is now One Temple Square and Association, a 91-unit, NY HUD housing project for the disabled and the elderly that was started by Henry F. Sysol, Jr. in the late 1970s. Thereafter the academy building was used for some time as fire department headquarters.

Fredonia Village Hall
Fredonia Village Hall and Opera House, July 2015

Today the building houses the village offices and includes the 1891 Fredonia Opera House, a former vaudeville theater that fell into disrepair in the 1970s while being operated as a movie house. The theater underwent a complete nine-year restoration in the 1980s by the Fredonia Preservation Society and a cadre of volunteers. It now serves as a year-round performing arts center. In 1930 under the director of the Normal School, Hermann Cooper, 58 acres (230,000 m2) of land west of Central Avenue were bought with the dream that one day it would become a campus. The construction of a music building took place in 1939, and in 1942 the Feinberg Law converted the Normal School into a teachers college. In 1948 the college became a vital part of the new State University of New York (SUNY) system.

In the mid-19th century Fredonia became the home of the first dues-paying Grange. The United States' first Grange Hall was erected in Fredonia in 1868, and the original building (Grange Hall #1) still stands on Main Street. Fredonia was also host to the first meeting of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, which was held at the Fredonia Baptist Church in 1873.

During the Olympic torch's trip in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, sixth-grade teacher Kate Leary from Fredonia Middle School carried the torch as it went through the town on U.S. Route 20.

The Fredonia State campus was the location of training camps for two major professional sports teams: the Buffalo Bills of the NFL, and the Buffalo Braves of the NBA. The Braves relocated to San Diego (as the renamed San Diego Clippers) in 1978, and the Bills moved their training camp in 2000 to St. John Fisher College near Rochester, New York.

Samuel L. Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, had connections to Fredonia, via relatives.

The Fredonia Commons Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The U.S. Post Office was listed in 1988.


Fredonia is located at 42°26′27″N 79°20′02″W / 42.440845°N 79.333813°W / 42.440845; -79.333813 in the northern part of the town of Pomfret. It is bordered to the north by the town and city of Dunkirk.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 5.2 square miles (13.4 km2), all of it land, though it does have a small stream flowing northward through the village to Lake Erie called Canadaway Creek.

U.S. Route 20 passes through the village. Exit 59 on the New York State Thruway, which passes north of the village, serves both Fredonia and Dunkirk by way of New York State Route 60.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 2,546
1880 2,692 5.7%
1890 3,399 26.3%
1900 4,127 21.4%
1910 5,286 28.1%
1920 6,051 14.5%
1930 5,814 −3.9%
1940 5,738 −1.3%
1950 7,095 23.6%
1960 8,477 19.5%
1970 10,326 21.8%
1980 11,126 7.7%
1990 10,436 −6.2%
2000 10,706 2.6%
2010 11,230 4.9%
2019 (est.) 10,303 −8.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 census, there were 11,230 people (an increase of 524 people or 4.89%) and 3,811 households (an increase of 170 or 4.69%). The population density was 2,159.6 people per square mile (838.1/km2). The racial makeup of the village was: 93.82% (10,536 people) white; 1.80% (202 people) African-American; 1.61% (181 people) Asian; 0.27% (30 people) Native American/Alaskan; 0.04% (4 people) Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; 1.19% (134 people) other; and 1.27% (143 people) of two or more races. Of any race, 3.91% (439 people) were Hispanic/Latino.

In the village, the population was spread out, with 13.11% (1,472 people) under the age of 18, 15.68% (1,761 people) ages 18 and 19, 26.5% (2,977 people) ages 20–24, 7.52% (844 people) ages 25–34, 11.96% (1,343 people) ages 35–49, 13.46% (1,511 people) ages 50–64, and 11.77% (1,322 people) over the age of 65. The male population made up 46.85% (5,261 people) of the total population and the female population made up 53.15% (5,969 people) of the total population.

Previously, in 2000 there were 10,706 people, 3,641 households, and 1,951 families residing in the village. The village's median household income was $34,712, while the median family income was $49,549.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Fredonia is twinned with:

Other mentions

In the 1933 film Duck Soup starring the Marx Brothers, the fictional name of the country "Freedonia" was used. The name came from the railroad stop Dunkirk-Fredonia on the New York to Chicago route. Groucho liked the name.

Notable people

  • George Borrello, New York State Senator
  • Ozias Bowen, former Ohio Supreme Court judge
  • Hiram C. Bull, politician
  • Pete Correale, stand-up comedian, broadcaster and writer
  • Alonzo Cushing, Civil War Union officer; died on Cemetery Ridge at the Battle of Gettysburg
  • William Barker Cushing, U.S. naval officer during the Civil War
  • Samuel T. Douglass, notable jurist
  • Warren B. Hooker, former US congressman
  • Douglass Houghton, explorer of Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan
  • Dave Fridmann, Grammy Award-winning record producer and director of the WNY Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps.
  • Olive Risley Seward, adopted daughter of William Henry Seward
  • Jennifer Stuczynski, Olympic medalist in athletics
  • Kevin Sylvester, sports radio talk show host
  • Jean Webster, author
  • Russell Willson, Vice Admiral, United States Navy
  • Louis E. Woods, Lieutenant General, United States Marines

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Fredonia (Nueva York) para niños

kids search engine
Fredonia, New York Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.