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

Gus Macker
Fri, 08/17/2018 - 8:30am - Sun, 08/19/2018 - 5:00pm

Gus Macker Olean is back on the 2018 schedule!  Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball, America's largest outdoor basketball tournament, will be held in Olean August 17-19.

Strolean August 2018
Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:00pm - 10:00pm

With the dust now settled construction to North Union Street, The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce and city leadership are inviting the community out for a night on the town.  Working with the city and members of the business community, the Chamber is announcing “StrOlean,” the event aims to bring folks to the downtown shopping district for an evening of fun.&nbsp

Rock City Park's Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show
Sat, 09/29/2018 - 10:00am - Sun, 09/30/2018 - 5:00pm

Columbus Day Weekend!  September 29 - 30.  Show Hours:  10am - 5pm.

Rock enthusiasts will have the chance to view, purchase and learn about rare and common rocks from around the world at the 10th annual Rock City Park Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show during Columbus Day Weekend.


Photo of Best Western University Inn

Whether traveling to Southwestern New York on business or pleasure, the newer BEST WESTERN Plus University Inn is the place to stay! This Olean area hotel features well-appointed guest rooms and suites, each fully-equipped with cable satellite television with HBO® and high-speed Internet access.

Launch your kayak or canoe.  Plenty of parking available.  Paved launch.  No facilities.

Photo of Park and Shop on Front Street

Buy organic items, environmentally friendly products, local products and more at Park & Shop.

Delivery is available from the Front Street Park & Shop!


  • Rock City Park has the largest outcropping of quartz conglomerate in the world! What a rockin' place!As you can see from this video, Rock City Park has beautiful fall colors and offers visitors a great short hiking experience.
  • Tasty tasty Beef on Weck at Beef 'n Barrel Restaurant in Olean, NY.

Travel Guide

Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County Travel Guide for 2017It'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

Huge Outdoor Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park is located on over 400 acres and holds over 250 sculptures.

Read more