Fredonia - Encyclopedia

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FREDONIA, a village of Chautauqua county, New York, U.S.A., about 45 m. S.W. of Buffalo, and 3 m. from Lake Erie. Pop. (1900) 4127; (1905, state census) 5148; (1910 census) 5285. Fredonia is served by the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburg railway, which connects at Dunkirk, 3 m. to the N., with the Erie, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, the New York, Chicago & St Louis, and the Pennsylvania railways; and by electric railway to Erie, Buffalo and Dunkirk. It is the seat of a State Normal School. The Darwin R. Barker public library contained 9700 volumes in 1908. Fredonia is situated in the grape-growing region of western New York, is an important shipping point for grapes, and has large grape-vine and general nurseries. The making of wine and of unfermented grape-juice are important industries of the village. Among other manufactures are canned goods, coal dealers' supplies, and patent medicines. The first settlement here was made in 1804, and the place was called Canandaway until 1817, when the present name was adopted. The village was incorporated in 1829. Fredonia was one of the first places in the United States, if not the first, to make use of natural gas for public purposes. Within the village limits, near a creek, whose waters showed the presence of gas, a well was sunk in 1821, and the supply of gas thus tapped was sufficient to light the streets of the village. Another well was sunk within the village limits in 1858. About 1905 natural gas was again obtained by deep drilling near Fredonia and came into general use for heat, light and power. In the Fredonia Baptist church on the 2 4th of December 1873 a Woman's Temperance Union was organized, and from this is sometimes dated the beginning of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union movement.

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