Painted hydrants to commemorate historic characters associated with Academy Heights/Dutch Hill

Edward R. Dotterweich is back holding forth at Swan and Sixth streets, not in the handsome house at 533 Swan St., where he once launched his School Sound System, and delighted children with his generous trips for ice cream and reliable support of their candy sales, but symbolically on the brightly painted fire hydrant on the corner.

Not since the City Bicentennial Celebration have some of the hydrants in Dunkirk been painted with artistic intent. Now as before, the fire department’s requirement of color coding on the endcaps which show the water pressure at each particular hydrant are honored. The Home Depot has generously donated the proper paint.

Artist Valarie Walawender will paint two more hydrants in this immediate neighborhood, which once was dominated by George and Andrew Dotterweich and their brewery and a cluster of their elegant homes. Experienced brew masters from Germany in the 19th century, George and Andrew Dotterweich built the first brewery by Crooked Brook at Dove and Sixth Street, a business which not only thrived until prohibition, but led the way for future food and beverage industries which have employed hundreds over the years and been a cornerstone of the economy in Dunkirk.

The next two painted hydrants will represent these brew masters, one of which is sponsored by the generosity of the Dunkirk Conservation Club. Sponsorship is sought for a total of 12 hydrants which will represent important community leaders of the 19th century and are associated directly with the 15 homes which will be on the Virtual walking tour of historic homes in this part of the city. Graphic artist, Jory Berkely, designed the first prototype representing a 19th century railroad official. To inquire about sponsorship, call Skeeter Tower at 366-3738.

This current project is part of Academy Heights and The Dunkirk Historical Society’s Neighborhood Pride initiative which is celebrating the extensive accomplishments and contributions of the Dotterweich family from 1851 to the recent past. The grant competition was sponsored by The Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation in 2017. Residents of this neighborhood are working to preserve the beautiful Victorian homes and the integrity and legacy of this once thriving part of town. This neighborhood has been associated with Brooks locomotive executives and George Eggers, famous photographer and father of George Eggers, artist, teacher and museum director among others.

Historic marker ceremony

The hydrants are phase one of the grant which will also include the installation of an informative historic marker to be placed at Sixth and Dove Street at 10 a.m. Friday to commemorate the Dotterweich family enterprise and philanthropy in the city. The dedication of this marker will be accompanied by Mayor Willie Rosas reading a proclamation, comments from a Catholic Church representative to acknowledge the generosity of the family in the construction of Sacred Heart Church and St George’s School (both victims of Urban Renewal.) The Dunkirk Fire Department will recount how Andrew Dotterweich was among the founding members of Fire Hose Co. 1 and a member for over 50 years. Other participants for this ceremony will include the ROTC color guard from Dunkirk high School and music from Northern Chautauqua Catholic school students. Brief comments from Director of the Dunkirk Historical Museum, James Hurtgen, co-sponsor of the event, Diane Andrasik, city historian, and superintendent of Dunkirk Schools, Dr. James Tracy. Two descendants of the family, Andrew Dotterweich from Michigan and Bernie Dotterweich, from Ellicottville will be present to receive the honors. The Clarion Hotel Marina & Conference Center has offered lake view accommodations to our visiting guest. In case of rain, the ceremony will be in the conference room of the Fredonia Technology Incubator.

Exhibit opens Thursday

The Fredonia Technology Incubator will be hosting an entrepreneurial workshop for local breweries and interested entrepreneurs on May 24, 2018 from 3 to 4 p.m. followed by a reception with free beer tasting of Southern Tier brews from 4 to 6 p.m. Music by The Blue Mule Band featuring Bernie Dottereweich will be a send off for a month long exhibit of “Everything Dotterweich and Koch,” memorabilia on loan from the Dunkirk Historical Museum and local collectors of memorabilia from City Brewery, Koch’s brewery, St George’s School and Sacred Heart Church and many family items. Project coordinators are grateful for the assistance and expertise of Barbara Racker, SUNY Fredonia and Monica Kemp and the Fredonia Technology Incubator in bringing this exhibit together. The community is encouraged to come and celebrate this free event. A memory book will be on hand to capture stories related to the Dotterweich family and businesses.

For additional information call the Dunkirk Historical Museum 366-3797 or Fredonia Technology Incubator 680-6009.

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