Olean, New York

Olean is a town in Cattaraugus County, New York. The name is derived from the Latin word "oleum" due to the discovery of crude oil in nearby Ischua.

The Town of Olean is in the southeast corner of the county. The City of Olean, originally the Village of Olean, is adjacent to the town.

Olean was first settled around 1805. The Town of Olean was established in 1808 as the only town in the county. The "Town of Ischua," (now Franklinville) was established in 1812, part of Perrysburg was removed in 1814, Great Valley was formed in 1818, Hinsdale in 1820, and Portville, in 1837.

The Village of Olean, was originally named "Hamilton," after Alexander Hamilton, but was called Olean Point until simplified to Olean in 1823.

The name "Olean" was suggested for the area due to the oil found in the vicinity. The famed Seneca Oil Spring, discovered by the Franciscan Missionary Joseph De La Roche D'Allion in 1627 was located about 14 miles upstream of Olean Point. The original town hall burned in 1884, prompting a law that forbade wooden structures in parts of the town.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 29.7 square miles, of which, 29.6 square miles of it is land and 0.1 square miles  of it (0.27%) is water

The City of Olean is a city within the Town of Olean in Cattaraugus County, New York. Olean is the largest city in Cattaraugus County, and serves as the financial, business and transportation center of the county. It is one of the principal cities of the Southern Tier region of New York.

The city is surrounded by the Town of Olean and is located in the southeastern part of the county.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.2 square miles, of which, 5.9 square miles of it is land and 0.2 square miles of it (3.73%) is water.

The city is located where Olean Creek flows into the Allegheny River and by the Southern Tier Expressway (Interstate 86 and New York State Route 17). New York State Route 417 passes east-west through the city and intersects New York State Route 16, a north-south highway.

Interesting facts:

  • Home to famous Rock City Park
  • The Olean Business Institute and a branch of Jamestown Community College are within the city
  • St. Bonaventure University is a few miles to the west in the Town of Allegany.
  • CUTCO national headquarters is based in Olean.
  • Dresser-Rand Group, Inc. North American headquarters was based in Olean.
  • Colonial Radio Group, which owns radio stations in the region and previously owned stations in the Carolinas, has been headquartered in Olean since 2009.
  • Part of the movie "Unstoppable" was filmed near a rail yard in Olean.

Upcoming Events

Annear at work on the rim of the Grand Canyon
Thu, 11/05/2015 - 9:00am - Thu, 12/24/2015 - 6:00pm

You don’t need to leave the area to see the majesty of our nation’s parks.

Santa Clause at 2014 parade!
Fri, 11/27/2015 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE WILL BE A PARADE!  This is the festive Annual Santa Claus Lane Parade held annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving and the traditional kick-off to the holiday season.  Santa will be in attendance and light up thousands of lights in Lincoln Park and downtown Olean when he parades through town in celebration.  Despite the recent construction

Santa Claus
Wed, 12/02/2015 - 6:00pm - Wed, 12/09/2015 - 8:00pm

Santa Claus will be back in the Town of Olean at his cottage in Lincoln Park.  Despite being so busy this time of year, Santa will available for kids to visit with on December 2nd and December 9th from 6-8pm thanks to the GOACC, City of Olean, Home Depot, and Duggan and Duggan Contractors. 


signature seafood dish

Named after Olean's original name, "Olean Point" The Point restaurant specializes in steak and seafood dishes, but you can find everything from gourmet salads, poultry dishes, ribs and more on The Point's menu. The Point offers more upscale dining options for customers, but in a casual, family friendly dining atmosphere.

Whispering Mountain Lodge location will feature a variety of food throughout the week.  The full menu includes pizza. wings, burgers and BBQ, pasta night, steak night and of course, Friday night Fish Fry.

yummy hot dogs

In a hurry, but can't ignore that rumble in your belly? No problem! Just stop by the Snak Shak at Good Times of Olean -  the perfect stop for all of your quick dining needs. From homemade pizzas, oven toasted subs, salads, wraps and baskets, the Snak Shak has something everyone will enjoy!


Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County Travel Guide for 2015It's a full 56-page comprehensive guide, highlighting the activities and attractions in our County and it's FREE!!

View the visitor's guide online


request that the Enchanted Mountains guide

be snail mailed to you for FREE!

NYAGT Geocaching Trails

Over 130 Old Order Amish Shops

Over 130 Old Order Amish Shops in an uncommercialized setting. Visit AmishTrail.com for more information on the Old Order Amish.

Read more