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Passenger Rail Service Around Chautauqua Lake

Did you know that railroads once served both sides of Chautauqua Lake, carrying passengers between Jamestown and Mayville from the late 1800s until the mid-1940s? The Chautauqua Traction Company operated along the west side of the lake until the mid-1920s while The Jamestown, Westfield and Northwestern Railroad (JW&NW) served the east side until the mid-1940s. Train stations were located at many villages and settlements along the way, as well as at “trolley parks” (Celoron, Midway and Sylvan Parks), resort hotels and Chautauqua Institution. This era of passenger rail transportation gradually came to an end, along with the end of the steamboat and resort hotel era, as competition from buses and private ownership of motor vehicles became more widespread. Pictured is The Chautauqua Traction Company station at Sylvan Park (currently the site of Camp Chautauqua).

Reference Credit & Photo Courtesy of Fenton Historical Society.

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