Fredonia was first settled in 1804. In 1821, William Hart dug the first successful gas well in what is now the village of Fredonia. It supplied enough natural gas for lights in two stores, two shops and a grist mill by 1825. Expanding on Hart’s work, the Fredonia Gas Light Company was eventually formed in 1858, becoming the first American natural gas company.
The village of Fredonia was incorporated in 1829. The State University at Fredonia originally opened as Fredonia Academy in 1826. That building is now the Village Hall. The original name for the area was Canadaway, from the Indian word Ganadawao, meaning ‘‘among the hemlocks.’’