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

Pavilion
Mon, 07/04/2022 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm

The City of Olean Music Series is back!

Starting May 26th, concerts will run from 6:30pm - 8:30pm every Thursday at Olean's Lincoln Park, with four Saturdays and a Monday being added to the list too.

• May 26, Freddy and The Jets (Oldies)

Olean's 2018 Fourth of July Fireworks
Mon, 07/04/2022 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

City Set For A BOOMING FOURTH! Bradner Stadium, Olean, gates open at 5:30 PM.  Coolers and packages carried into the stadium will be checked for security reasons. In case of inclement weather, the fireworks will be scheduled for the next clear night. 

The fireworks are organized by the Olean Professional Firefighters Association.

Classic Car at the Car Show
Repeats every week until Fri Aug 26 2022 .
Thu, 07/07/2022 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

A fleet of classic cars will be on full display every Thursday through the summer until August 25th in the parking lot of the Olean Center Mall.

Places

Baby Cria on the Farm

This farm offers alpacas that are halter trained and ready for the show ring. They have an array of colors; white, fawn, brown, black and grey. They have chosen animals to establish diverse bloodlines and feel they have built up a strong herd. Come visit their farm.  They are currently in the process of building a new barn so stop by and see the progress.

Photo of summer flowers

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

Photo of African American Center for Cultural Development

The African American Center for Cultural Development exists to value, promote and integrate the rich and diverse history and culture of the Southern Tier Region of New York State through the celebration of the talents, lives and history of African Americans in the region.

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!

NYAGT Geocaching Trails

Meaning of the word Cattaraugus

CATTARAUGUS, from a Seneca Indian word meaning “bad smelling banks,” referring to the odor of natural gas leaking from rock seams. http://www.dos.ny.gov/info/pdfs/countynames.pdf

The word "Cattaraugus" means "foul-smelling river bank." This name is a result of the natural gas that oozes from the river mud. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattaraugus_Creek.

In our opinion, only some of the river banks are bad smelling. Come on over and visit a creek in Cattaraugus County and tell us what you think.

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