World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Cattaraugus County, New York

Article Id: WHEBN0000052332
Reproduction Date:

Title: Cattaraugus County, New York  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of museums in New York, List of Superfund sites in New York, Allegany County, New York, Erie County, New York, New York State Route 382
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cattaraugus County, New York

Cattaraugus County, New York
Map of New York highlighting Cattaraugus County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded 1808
Seat Little Valley
Largest city Olean
 • Total 1,310 sq mi (3,393 km2)
 • Land 1,298 sq mi (3,362 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (31 km2), 1.21%
 • (2010) 80,317
 • Density 62/sq mi (23.8/km²)
Congressional district 23rd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website .us.ny.cattaraugus.cowww

Cattaraugus County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 80,317.[1] The county seat is Little Valley.[2]

Cattaraugus County comprises the Olean, NY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY Combined Statistical Area.


Entering Cattaraugus County on Interstate 86

The largely unsettled territory, traditional homeland of the now-extinct Wenrohronon Indians, was claimed by at least three territories: New York Colony, Massachusetts Bay Colony and Pennsylvania Colony up until the 18th Century.

When counties were established in New York in 1683, the present Cattaraugus County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York as well as all of the present state of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770 by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.

On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.

In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled across the Niagara Frontier into modern day Ontario, Canada. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War (and a treaty with Massachusetts that finally settled who owned Western New York), the name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery County in honor of the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor.

In practice, however, these counties did not cover modern Cattaraugus County or Western New York, as most of it lay within the Indian Reserve and was off-limits to European settlement until after the Revolutionary War.

Ontario County was split from Montgomery County in 1789 as a result of the establishment of the Morris Reserve. In turn, Genesee County was split from Ontario County in 1802 as a result of the Holland Purchase. It was not until this time that significant settlement of the territory happened. Shortly afterwards, Genesee County was made smaller in 1806, by the creation of Allegany County.

Cattaraugus County was formed in 1808, split off from Genesee County. However, at first there was no county government due to the sparse population. From 1812 to 1814, Cattaraugus County was incorporated in Allegany County; from 1814 to 1817, records of the county were divided between Belmont (Allegany County) and Buffalo (then in Niagara County). Finally, in 1817, a county government was established for Cattaraugus County.

Numerous towns in the county are named after agents of the Holland Land Company, including Ellicottville (Joseph Ellicott), Franklinville (William Temple Franklin, grandson of Benjamin Franklin), Otto and East Otto (Jacob Otto).

The first settlement in the county was in Olean and the original county seat was Ellicottville. After 1860, the county seat was moved to Little Valley.


Cattaraugus County is in the southwestern part of the state, immediately north of the Pennsylvania border. The southern part of Cattaraugus County is the only area of western New York that was not covered by the last ice age glaciation and is noticeably more rugged than neighboring areas that had peaks rounded and valleys filled by the glacier. The entire area is actually a dissected plateau of Pennsylvanian and Mississippian age, but appears mountainous to the casual observer. The plateau is an extension of the Allegany Plateau from nearby Pennsylvania. Southern Cattaraugus County is part of the same oil field, and petroleum was formerly a resource of the area. It is now mostly played out, but natural gas continues to be extracted.

A continental divide between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes watersheds runs through Cattaraugus County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,322 square miles (3,424.0 km2), of which 1,310 square miles (3,392.9 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31.1 km2) (0.94%) is water.[3]

The northern border of the county is formed by Cattaraugus Creek.

Adjacent counties


Major highways


Great Valley Airport is located in Cattaraugus County, one nautical mile (1.85 km) southeast of the central business district of Great Valley.[4][5]

Cattaraugus County-Olean Airport is located outside of Olean located in the Town of Ischua .


As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 83,955 people, 32,023 households, and 21,647 families residing in the county. The population density was 64 people per square mile (25/km²). There were 39,839 housing units at an average density of 30 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.63% White, 1.06% Black or African American, 2.60% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. 0.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 26.8% were of German, 13.2% Irish, 11.3% English, 9.1% Polish, 8.2% Italian and 7.4% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.2% spoke English and 1.4% Spanish as their first language.

There were 32,023 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.30% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.40% were non-families. 26.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 26.50% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,404, and the median income for a family was $39,318. Males had a median income of $30,901 versus $22,122 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,959. About 10.00% of families and 13.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.60% of those under age 18 and 9.90% of those age 65 or over.

Government and politics

Cattaraugus County is run by a unicameral legislature with an appointed county "administrator," who serves many executive duties of a county executive but has no legislative veto power and is not elected. The legislators themselves are independently elected (while some also serve as mayors of the villages they represent, their status as mayors does not affect in any way their seats on the legislature and thus it is not a Board of Supervisors). The votes of each legislator are counted in proportion to the number of people that said legislator represents (for example, if a legislator from Olean has 10,000 people in his/her district, and the legislator serving Lyndon only has 5,000, the Lyndon legislator's vote has only half the worth of the Olean legislator's). There are currently 21 members of the legislature with 15 Republicans and 6 Democrats; the county is in the process of reducing that number to 17. Each legislator serves a four-year term, with a limit of three terms.

The legislature is a majority Republican, with Norman L. Marsh serving as Chairman, and James J. Snyder of Olean serving as Vice-Chairman.

  • 01 - Paula J. Stockman (R)
  • 02 - Richard L. Klancer (R) and Patrick J. Murphy (R)
  • 03 - Norman L. Marsh (R) and Howard VanRensselaer (R)
  • 04 - William E. Sprague (D)
  • 05 - Donna Vickman (R), Gary M. Felton (R) and William H. Weller (R)
  • 06 - James J. Snyder Jr. (R) and Dan M. Hale (R)
  • 07 - James L. Boser (D) and Richard J. Lamberson (D)
  • 08 - Carl W. Edwards (R)
  • 09 - David M. Koch (D) and Susan Labuhn (R)
  • 10 - John J. Padlo (D), Linda M. Edstrom (R), James J. Snyder (R), Earl B. McElfresh (R) and Steven Teachman (R)

Cattaraugus County is entirely within the boundaries of the 148th New York State Assembly District (served currently by Joseph Giglio), the 57th New York State Senate District (served currently by Catharine Young), and the U.S. House of Representatives 29th district (served currently by Tom Reed). In the last of these, Cattaraugus County's votes proved pivotal in the 2008 elections: incumbent Republican Randy Kuhl, who had strongly carried the county in 2004 and 2006, lost Cattaraugus County to Democrat Eric Massa in the 2008 elections.

The county is generally considered a "red county," with Republicans usually outvoting Democrats in most statewide and national offices (for instance, in 2004 John Kerry in Cattaraugus County by a 60-40 margin) though Bill Clinton won the Cattaraugus County very narrowly in 1996. However, in 2006, the county narrowly chose Eliot Spitzer over John Faso by a margin of about 1% in the governor's race, and Hillary Clinton surprisingly defeated John Spencer in the county by a 10 percentage point margin. (That being said, in all other positions up for office that year, Republicans—including all congressional and state legislature representatives—still won.) In 2008 it continued its tradition as a red county. John McCain defeated Barack Obama by a 55-44% margin. In 2010, Republican Carl Paladino carried Cattaraugus County over Democrat (and eventual winner) Andrew Cuomo 65% to 31%, but Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Chuck Schumer, both incumbent Democrats, carried the county by 51% to 46% and 54% to 43% margins respectively.

An emerging trend among Cattaraugus County's villages has been consolidation with their surrounding towns. Limestone voters approved dissolution into the Town of Carrollton in September 2009; that took effect at the beginning of 2011. On March 18, 2010, three other villages (East Randolph, Randolph and Perrysburg) followed suit and approved dissolution into their surrounding towns (Town of Randolph for the first two, and Town of Perrysburg for the third); these three villages dissolved at the beginning of 2012.

Additional facts about Cattaraugus County

There are two separate geological formations, both called "Rock City," in the county that have the appearance of a town laid out with streets. One is in Olean and the other is in Little Valley.

Olean is the largest city in the county and is the major center for business. Ski country runs through Cattaraugus County; two ski resorts, popular with Canadians, lie in the town of Ellicottville; in addition, several snowmobile trails cross the county, including the Pat McGee Trail, a flagship for the county's trail system, and the North Country Trail.

Cattaraugus County's current promotional nickname is the Enchanted Mountains, despite the fact that the county is mostly hills and that only two comparatively small "mountains" (Mount Seneca and Mount Tuscarora, both in Allegany State Park) exist in the county. During the 1980s, the county used the slogan Naturally Yours to Enjoy.

Cattaraugus County is considered part of Appalachia, as well as Western New York, upstate New York, the Southern Tier, the Twin Tiers and the Buffalo-Niagara-Cattaraugus Combined Statistical Area. As a result of this geographic crossroads, the people of Cattaraugus County speak a variety of accents, ranging from mild variants of Appalachian English to Inland Northern American English, with a handful of people speaking in the more loud and nasal Buffalo English.

The sales tax in Cattaraugus County is 8% (4% from New York, 4% from the county).

A large Amish community is located in the western part of the county. Their presence partially explains the county's unusually high rate of homes without full indoor plumbing compared to nearby counties.[8]

Famous Cattaraugus County natives and residents


  • Salamanca Press (weekly, serving Salamanca and a few other small towns)
  • Olean Times Herald (daily, serving all of the western Twin Tiers)
  • Olean Source (free weekly)
  • Ellicottville Mountain and Valley News / Franklinville Mercury-Gazette (free weeklies)
  • Ellicottville Times (free weekly, based in Ellicottville)
  • The Villager (free weekly, based in Ellicottville)
  • Gowanda Pennysaver News (free weekly)
  • Randolph Register (monthly)

Radio stations

  • WPIG (95.7, Olean)
  • WHDL (1450, Olean)
  • WOLN (91.3, Olean, operated out of Buffalo)
  • WQRS (98.3, Salamanca)
  • WGGO (1590, Salamanca)
  • WGWE (105.9, Little Valley, operated from the Allegany Reservation)
  • WOEN (1360, Olean)
  • WMXO (101.5, Olean)
  • WVTT (96.7, Portville, operated out of Olean)
  • WTWT (90.5, transmitter in Allegany, licensed to Bradford, PA, operated out of Russell, PA)
  • WWG32 (162.425, Little Valley, operated out of Buffalo)

Television stations

Educational institutions

A branch of Jamestown Community College, in Olean provides higher education for residents. Olean Business Institute provided specialized education and is also in Olean, but closed in 2013 due to financial and enrollment declines. Jamestown Business College operates a satellite campus in Salamanca; Cornplanter College, which opens in 2014, is also located in Salamanca. St. Bonaventure University is also in this county, located in its own census-designated place just west of Olean.

Cities, towns, villages, and other locations

Designation in parentheses indicates official level of government.

Indian reservations

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  4. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for N56 (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective 8 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Great Valley Airport (N56)" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  8. ^ 1.6 million Americans don't have indoor plumbing. Here's where they live. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 24, 2014.

External links

  • Cattaraugus County
  • Cattaraugus County at DMOZ
  • Cattaraugus County webpage
  • Western Southern Tier information
  • Cattaraugus historical links/information
  • Summary early history of Cattaraugus County and its communities
  • Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency
  • Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County (Tourism Site)
  • Little Valley Area Chamber of Commerce

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.