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

Local Veteran, Norm Marsh Recording "Our Veterans, Their Stories"
Thu, 09/29/2022 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

The Cattaraugus County Museum and the Cattaraugus County Department of Veterans Services will host a free film screening event at JCC’s Cutco Theater at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.

Part of the ongoing “Our Veterans, Their Stories” project, this event will showcase a new film series entitled “Vietnam: What a Vet Wants You to Know.”

Rock City Park's Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show
Sat, 10/01/2022 - 10:00am - Sun, 10/02/2022 - 5:00pm

October 1st & 2nd,  Show Hours:  10am - 5pm.

Rock enthusiasts will have the chance to view, purchase and learn about rare and common rocks from

Sat, 10/01/2022 - 12:30pm - 2:30pm

This class is created for beginners, as well as intermediate painters. We will work in the medium of acrylic, learn about elements of art and principles of design, talk about how to mix right colors, create the illusion of depth, present light in your painting, and many more tricks and trades of painting.

Places

Tri-County Arts Council

The Tri-County Arts Council is transforming the Southern Tier of New York State into a better place to live through education, service and community outreach.

Photo of sandwich and fries

Casual dining at an affordable price. Whether you're looking to go out to dinner last minute or you're planning a larger party, they're the place to be.

Videos

  • Provided by the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce and Olean Business Development. 
  • 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

2022 Guide Cover

It's a full 56-page comprehensive guide, highlighting the activities and attractions in our County.

Request the Enchanted Mountains guide to be snail mailed to you for FREE!

Miner's Cabin built by Gold Miner

Miner’s Cabin in Franklinville was built by a miner that returned home after making it good during the gold rush era of the west coast. The building is not a cabin either but a three story house of Queen Anne design.

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