Chadakoin River

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Name origin: Seneca for 'the rapids'[1]
Country United States
State New York
 - left Cassadaga Creek
River Allegheny River System
Source Chautauqua Lake
 - elevation 1,308 ft (399 m)
 - coordinates 42°6′42″N 79°16′14″W / 42.11167°N 79.27056°W / 42.11167; -79.27056
Source confluence Cassadaga Creek
 - location Falconer, New York
 - elevation 1,257 ft (383 m)
 - coordinates 42°7′54″N 79°10′48″W / 42.13167°N 79.18000°W / 42.13167; -79.18000
Mouth Conewango Creek
 - location Frewsburg, New York
 - elevation 1,238 ft (377 m)
 - coordinates 42°5′30″N 79°8′11″W / 42.09167°N 79.13639°W / 42.09167; -79.13639Coordinates: 42°5′30″N 79°8′11″W / 42.09167°N 79.13639°W / 42.09167; -79.13639
Length 7.8 mi (13 km)
Basin 192 sq mi (497 km2)
Discharge for Falconer, 1.8 miles (2.9 km) upstream from mouth
 - average 370 cu ft/s (10 m3/s) [2]
 - max 2,250 cu ft/s (64 m3/s)
(September 14, 1979)[2]
 - min 0 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)
(July 30, 2011)[2]
Chadkoin River.jpg
Chadakoin River (red)

The Chadakoin River is a 7.8-mile-long (12.6 km)[3] stream that is a tributary of the Conewango Creek. The Chadakoin lies entirely in Chautauqua County in Western New York in the United States.[4]

The stream drains an area of 192 square miles (500 km2), covering much of Chautauqua County. The creek begins at the southern end of Chautauqua Lake. Its watershed is bounded to the north by the Chautauqua Ridge, a continental divide that results in the water flowing eventually to the Gulf of Mexico rather than the nearby Great Lakes.


Flowing entirely within Chautauqua County, New York, the Chadakoin River begins by emptying Chautauqua Lake at Celoron. It then flows generally eastward through the City of Jamestown to Falconer where it is joined by a major tributary, Cassadaga Creek, four miles (6.4 km) east of Jamestown. The river then flows south to Frewsburg where it empties into the Conewango Creek, which then flows southward into Pennsylvania and joins the Allegheny River at the city of Warren, Pennsylvania.[5]

River modifications[edit]

Warner Dam, at Washington Street in Jamestown, controls the level of Chautauqua Lake and the flow of the Chadakoin.[6] There is a five-foot-high (1.5 m) weir at Buffalo Street in Jamestown.


Little is known about the indigenous population around the river prior to the 17th century; it was likely inhabited by either the Erie or the Wenro. Étienne Brûlé, the first European to explore the area, did not document what tribes lived there at the time. The Seneca people, of the Iroquois League, invaded the region in the 1650s as part of the Beaver Wars. The Chadakoin was part of their water route system that connected the Great Lakes and Canada with Pennsylvania and destinations further south.

The first recorded European exploration of the Chadakoin was by Pierre Joseph Céloron de Blainville. To strengthen France's claim to the Ohio Valley, Céloron carried out an expedition in the summer of 1749. The expedition from Montreal landed on the shore of Lake Erie, at the mouth of Chautauqua Creek in present-day Westfield, New York. The expedition carried their boats and equipment overland to Chautauqua Lake, then followed the Chadakoin River and Conewango Creek to the Allegheny River, reaching it on July 29, 1749.

The site for Jamestown was chosen in the early 1800s on the Chadakoin as a source of water power for mills. Later, flat bottomed boats brought manufactured goods from downstream to the growing village.[7] Jamestown's mills shipped lumber downstream. Upstream traffic stopped about 1825 and by 1840 downstream commerce had ended.[8]

As Jamestown became more populated, the area around the Chadakoin became the industrial core of the city. The river, especially below Warner Dam, was hidden by factories and sections of the river were covered by buildings. Neglected, the river became polluted and its banks were littered with trash.[9]

The first few miles of the river, from Chautauqua Lake to Jamestown at the Fairmount Avenue bridge, are locally referred to as "The Outlet" and have been continuously used for water recreation, such as boating, canoeing and kayaking. The marsh areas along this length of the Chadakoin hold many birds and other animals. The revitalization of the riverfront that runs through Jamestown has received more attention recently, with the goal of increasing public access to the Chadakoin River by creating small parks and a pedestrian trail along the river.[10] Recent cleanup efforts and the demolition of abandoned factory buildings have opened up the Chadakoin below Warner Dam to limited kayaking.[11]

Historically, the river has been dyed green for Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in the city, a tradition that ended after the 2012 event due to budget cuts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Phillips Downs; Fenwick Y Hedley (1921). History of Chautauqua County, New York, and Its People. American Historical Society. p. 11. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "03014500 Chadakoin River at Falconer, NY, Water Data Report 2013" (PDF). National Water Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1934–2013. Retrieved August 29, 2016. 
  3. ^ "The National Map". U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on April 5, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Chadakoin River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  5. ^ Engineer And Surveyor, New York State (1920). Annual Report of the State Engineer and Surveyor 1919 Volume 2. Albany New York: J. B. Lyon Company. pp. 406–408. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Warner Dam Flood Damage Reduction Project" (PDF). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Keelboat Landing". Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ Sample, Jason. "The History of Early Water Transportation in Southeastern Chautauqua County" (PDF). Chautauqua County Historical Society. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Chadakoin River Watershed". The Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Water Front Research and Development". Jamestown Renaissance Corporation. Archived from the original on August 3, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Kayaking the Chadakoin". Evergreen Outfitters. Archived from the original on April 12, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 

External links[edit]