Jamestown, originally named “The Rapids,” was settled due to its position along the rapids of the Chadakoin River which supplied water power for early industries such as saw mills, grist mills, and woolen mills. Like many communities built around a source of water power, the City of Jamestown eventually “turned its back” on its river when it was no longer necessary for providing energy for turning machinery. Its waters became polluted, its banks littered with trash. Today, much of the Chadakoin River remains hidden between buildings along Jamestown’s old industrial corridor. Sections are being revitalized as citizens recognize the river’s benefits.
The Chadakoin River originates at the Chautauqua Lake Outlet. It flows into Jamestown at McCrea Point which, in former days, served as the Boat Landing for several steamers that plied the lake. Just below the municipal power plant the Warner Dam provides control over flow rate and lake level. The river winds through the city and through the neighboring Village of Falconer, joining the meandering flow of Cassadaga Creek in an area known as Levant. A short distance downstream lies Jamestown’s waste-water treatment plant where millions of gallons of raw sewage are processed each day into water clean enough to return to the environment. Another short distance downstream Cassadaga Creek joins Conewango Creek, which, in turn, joins the Allegheny River in Warren, Pennsylvania and eventually flows all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.