Red House is a town in Cattaraugus County, New York. As of the 2000 census, the town population was 38, making it the least populous town in the state. The name comes from a small stream, Red House Creek.
The Town of Red House is on the south edge of Cattaraugus County. Red House is south of the City of Salamanca.
The town was first settled by outsiders after 1827. The Town of Red House was formed in 1869 from part of the Town of Salamanca. Local folklore states that it was named for its famous landmark, the Red House, a Civil War-era home remarkable for its strange, dark crimson coloring and reputed by many locals to be haunted. It was initially occupied by the Frecks family, local landowners of some repute (for whom the hamlet of Frecks is named), whose extended family was torn apart by the ravages of the Civil War, both emotionally and through the loss of several members. As the story goes, when eldest son Johnny Frecks died in the Civil War, his widow began an affair with the next-eldest, James (a relationship said to have been carried on while Johnny was fighting in the war). Exiled by the family for their relationship, the lovers killed themselves, and their ghosts are said to haunt the house. Family patriarch Jonathan Frecks II died shortly after of mysterious causes, after which the family donated a great deal of money to the town and promptly moved to another residence out of the area.
Harvesting trees for lumber and other products was a major early industry.
The reason that Red House is so sparsely populated is due to the fact that the vast majority of the town's land was used for the creation of Allegany State Park, which has no permanent population. A small northwest corner remains outside the park's bounds, about half of which is on the Allegany Reservation. Red House can be described as a ghost town.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 55.9 square miles, of which, 55.7 square miles of it is land and 0.2 square miles of it (0.30%) is water.
The south town line is the border of Pennsylvania, and the east town line borders/includes the Allegany Reservation, defined by the Allegheny River.
Interstate 86 and New York State Route 280 pass through the town.
Communities and locations in the Town of Red House
· Allegany Reservation – A Seneca reservation.
· Allegany State Park – Much of the town is within the park.
· Frecks – A hamlet in the southwest corner of the town.
· Red House – A hamlet in the western part of the town near the Allegheny River.
· Red House Creek – The site of the first settlement. The name comes from a red-painted house that stood on the bank of the Allegany River.
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The highest point in Cattaraugus County is Clare Mark, at 2,430 feet. This mount, in the Town of Allegany off Chipmunk Road, is privately owned, and does not have public access for hiking. Nearby attractions are Rock City Park and Allegany State Park.