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V I L L A G E    H I S T O R Y


The area currently known as the Bemus Point was first settled by William Bemus in 1806.  Bemus had purchased land on both sides of Chautauqua Lake from the Land Company in 1805 at a cost of $1.50.  He moved his family to the east side of the lake (in the area now known as Bemus Point) on March 9, 1806.  The Bemus family lived in a log cabin approximately 500-660 feet northeast of the current ferry landing site.

The ferry located in Bemus Point on Watson Road was founded in 1811 by Thomas Bemus.  The original ferry was a raft built by Thomas, and had to be poled across the lake.  Today, a cable-drawn ferry exists in its place and in operated by the Chautauqua Lake Historic Vessels Company.  Until the nearby bridge (now part of I-86) opened October 30, 1982, the Bemus-Stow Ferry was the only way to cross Chautauqua Lake.  When closed for the winter months, motorist had to travel north-west to Mayville, or south-east to Jamestown to reach Stow.  Either way was a 19-mile round trip.  Local residents often purchased a seasonal pass to use the ferry, commuting to Lakewood, Sherman, or other areas west of the lake.

Watson Road features many historic houses including Strok's, Strok, and Groths, which have been there for over 100 years.  Thomas lived on the west side of the lake directly across from Bemus Point, in the area now known as Stow.

Throughout the 1800's, Bemus Point gained popularity as a tourist destination, which promoted its growth and development.  By the early 1900's, a dance hall known as the Casino, which still exists under the same name, became a well-known venue for entertainment, particularly big band music.

In the summer, Bemus Point hosts its "Bemus Bay Pops" concert, which involves many local musicians and is also host to the "Chautauqua Idol" similar to American Idol.

The Village of Bemus Point was incorporated in 1911.