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Town of Olean

Olean - Circa 1955 Olean 1882 looking northwest
Olean circa 1950 Olean 1882
Prints are still available as wall poster by contacting Olean Public Libary as of May 2019


Olean was formed March 11, 1808, and at first included the whole territory of Cattaraugus County. "Ischua", now Franklinville was taken off in 1812, a part of Perrysburgh in 1814, Great Valley in 1818, Hinsdale in 1820, and Portville, in 1837. It lies upon the south line of the county, near the southeast corner. The surface is a hilly upland, separated into 2 distinct parts by the valley of the Allegheny. The highest points are 500-600 feet above the valley. Lumbering is the major occupation. 

Olean is on the Allegheny, at the mouth of Olean Creek, and was incorporated in 1854. It contained in 1863, 6 churches, the Olean Academy, a newspaper office, a flouring mill, foundery, tannery, and 3 sawmills. Its population was 994. 

It was a station on the New York and Erie Railroad, and an important commercial point upon the river; and it was for some years the southern terminus of the Genesee Valley Canal. 

The first settlement was made in 1805. In that year, Robert Hoops, agent of Adam Hoops, and David Heusten were residents near the river on small improvements, and must have settled as early as 1804. Other early settlers included John Brooks, James Green, Cornelius Brooks, William Shepard and Willis Thrall located in 1806. James G Johnson was the first settler in the village, in 1808. 

The first birth in town was that of Olean, daughter of William Shepard, May 22, 1807 and the first death was that of William B Shepard, Sept. 21, 1809. 

Sylvanus Russell kept the first inn in 1808 at Olean Point. Levi Gregory kept the first store, in 1811 at Olean Village. The first sawmill was erected in 1807 by William Shepard and Willis Thrall, on Olean Creek. 

Adam Hoops erected the first gristmill on the mouth of the creek in 1809. Mr. Hoops was a proprietor of lands, and a pioneer settler. He had served with distinction in the Continental Army, and was at one time an aide to General George Washington.


City of Olean Vital Records
P.O. Box 668
101 East State Street
Olean, New York 14760
Deputy Registrar 716-376-5605

 (NOTE:  They only have records for births that occurred within the city limits.) of Olean


If you are fortunate enough to be able to visit Olean, the OPL is a GREAT resource.  They have Newspapers from 1856,  Some City Directors from 1882,  in addition to the Federal Census on microfilm, they also have NY State census for Olean for years  1855, 1865, 1875.  
The Olean Public Library
134 North Second Street
Olean, NY 14760-2583
(716) 372-0200 - Phone
(716) 372-8651 - Fax - email
Web Site

City Ward Map.  I don't remember where I got this, and I don't know the date, but here is a partial map of  early Olean showing  the locations of census wards one through four as well as some early buildings and street layouts.  Mostly the west side of Olean. The map will open in a new window and you will have to "close" it when done. It is large and may take some time to load.

The Sand Pumpings is hosted on the web site of the New York Heritage  which is a research portal for students, educators, historians, genealogists. Sand Pumpings magazines provide a wealth of information for genealogists, researchers, and local historians. In these little magazines readers will be able to learn about various local history topics such as different ethnic groups that settled in the area, stories of the Underground Railroad, the oil industry in Western New York, as well as local celebrities and first-hand accounts of the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 and Prohibition. Thanks to Laura Greene for pointing us to this excellent resource.


(most from the collection of John Ewing Posson)


Schools Records & Photos

Class Photos

Picture of School #1

School #1 Corner W. Sullivan & N. Sixth

Date of Photo Grade Class of ...
1950 Fourth Grade Class of 1958
1952 Sixth Grade Class of 1958
1950 Second Grade Class of 1960
Third Grade
Class of 1959

School #4
School #4 Corner Seneca & King (Replaced by Eastview Elementary)
Photo Courtesy of Lynda Stephan OHS '66
Date of Photo Grade Class of ...
1955 Sixth Grade Class of 1961

Picture of School #10

School #10 Corner Henley & S. Fourth

Eighth Grade English Teacher - Miss Helen Hannigan

Date of Photo Grade Class of ...
1949 First Grade Class of 1961
1954 Sixth Grade Class of 1960
1954 Eighth Grade Class of 1958
Picture of St Marys #10

Saint Mary's of the Angel W. Henley St & S 1st

Date of Photo Grade Class of ...
1954 Seventh Grade Class of 1959
1962 Seventh Grade Class of 1967

Olean High School

Olean High School

Link to OHS Band

OHS Band 1931

mortar  Yearbook Cover
Olean High School Class Lists
mortarClass of 1903 mortar Class of 1958 mortar Class of 1959 mortar Class of 1961

1894 School
School Name Location
German Lutheran School
Laurens corner Fourth
St. Mary's Parochial School
Sullivan corner Sixth
Union District School No. 1.
Sullivan Between Third & Fourth
Union District School No. 2
Corner Eleventh & State
Union District School No. 3
Corner State & Barry
Union District School No. 4
Corner Chestnut & Bishop
Union District School No. 5.
Main St,  South Boardmanville
Union District School No. 6.
Corner Reed & Tenth.
source: Olean City Directory 1893-94

City Officials
City Historian City Clerk
David Deckman
107 E. Ohio St.
Olean, NY 14760
(716) 376-5642 (B) - (716) 372-5662 (H)
Frank Caputo,
Municipal Bldg.
Olean, NY 14760
(716) 376-5604
Web Site: City Clerk's Office
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 AM-5 PM
From Cattaraugus County Directory, dated April 1, 2021
Town Officials
Town Historian Town Clerk
None Listed Sherry Lemon
2634 Route 16 N
Olean, NY 14760
(373-0582 (B)
Hours: Mon., Wed. & Fri. 9 AM-1 PM
From Cattaraugus County Directory, dated April 1, 2022

Olean Historical and Preservation Society

Anne Walsh, Historian

302 Laurens St (Barlett House)
Olean, NY 14760
Office Phone: (716) 376-5642
Office Hours
Wednesday through Friday 3pm to 5pm
Saturday 1pm to 5pm
or by Appointment
Holdings include:
  • City Directories,  
  • Local History Material,
  • Photos and Family History Files.
Anne KlimczykWalsh of the City Historian's Office has made arrangements to allow us to transcribe  the 1893-1894 City Directory.  It includes about 12,461 residents, organized alphabetically by household groups and includes occupations.  Also included is a Business Directory with Lodges and Societies,  a Street Listing, an image of the fold-out map that was on the inside cover, and a Municipal Directory with Ward boundaries.   Pages are transcribed into text to allow search engines (like Yahoo and Google)  to locate names, and each transcribed page has a link to the actual scanned 800x1200 jpg image.
Oleander Review and Outlook - Pub. 1922 (PDF Format) A very large file, 16MB+ but well worth the download time
Download the Oleander

Surnames people are researching from this town


The only OLEAN listings on-line that we are aware of are on-line on the Olean Public Library.  Click on   Olean Public Library , then click on Genealogy, then click on Cemetery Listings.