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

Example of the Wreaths
Fri, 10/02/2015 - 3:26pm - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 2:00pm

Bring a bit of Nature closer to you this holiday season by displaying a beautiful holiday wreath.  Choose from a handmade, decorated or undecorated Fraser Fir or Boxwood.  Support Pfeiffer Nature Center by ordering your wreath through our website at www.pfeiffernaturecenter.org or by calling the Pfeiffer Nature Center Administrativ

Repeats every week every Friday until Fri Oct 30 2015 .
Fri, 10/09/2015 - 2:00pm - 6:00pm

Olean's Farmers Market has been formed by longtime vendors at other markets. All produce is locally grown by family farms in Western New York, guaranteed. In addition to seasonal vegetables and fruit, there is an extensive baked goods display by an Amish family, also some craft items by the Amish.

REAP autumn
Sat, 10/10/2015 - 8:00am - 1:00pm

Open 8am to 1pm every Saturday from May 16 through October 31st, rain or shine.  In a new location for the 2015 market season!  Visit them in the parking lot between Carmike Cinemas and BJ's Wholesale Club.



Seasonal business with locally grown produce, flower baskets, bedding plants.


This fast food restaurant is home to the 28 piece tray pizza and baked chicken wings.  They are known for their fast and friendly service.  Whether you are stopping in for a couple of slices or dining in a comfortable atmosphere with your family or friends, you'll find lunch or daily specials to accommodate you.

Can you see the people?

Rock City Park is a majestic geological spectacle of enormous rock formations and is sometimes called one of the Eighth Wonders of the World. This prehistoric ocean floor is the World’s largest exposure of quartz conglomerate (also called ocean spar or puddingstone) and attracts thousands of visitors yearly.


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

Equestrian Trails throughout

Miles of equestrian trails meander throughout our county.

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