14 Main Street
Cattaraugus, NY  14719

14 Main Street
Cattaraugus, NY  14719

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The Town of New Albion and Village of Cattaraugus have a rich history; the first "white" settlers in the area arrived as early as 1818. Prior to this time, the land was settled by the Seneca Nation of Indians. The Town and Village were originally part of the Town of Little Valley and were separated from it in February 1830. Until this time, the original territory of the Town and Village was an unbroken forest.

Horace Snyder, an early resident, made the first clearing of approximately six acres which now comprises part of the Village limits. Using the timber he cut, he created the first industry in the community by manufacturing potash in an ashery he constructed within the clearing. Saw mills, blacksmith shops, wagon shops, local stores and taverns were also very important businesses for early settlers in the Town. These were established as early as 1836.

Early travelers made their way to New Albion by following the Creek or by way of Champlain's Corner. The first road in Cattaraugus County was old Chautauqua Road, an east/west corridor, linked Ellicottville, Little Valley, Champlain's Corners, Guy Corners (at Farm to Market Road), Axeville and Conewango Valley. The road cut through a dense, virgin forest.

An outstanding figure in the rapid development of the Village of Cattaraugus was Joseph Plumb, arriving from the Village of Gowanda sometime prior to 1850. Mr. Plumb purchased a large tract of land and plotted it for sale to smaller buyers. He made the specific provision that no intoxicating substances were to be manufactured or sold on any of his properties. In 1851, Joseph Plumb donated a right-of-way and land site for a train depot to the newly completed Erie Railroad. When the railroad opened in May of that year, the real development of the Village of Cattaraugus began to occur.

The railroad made Cattaraugus the shipping and trading center for the surrounding country-side. The Cattaraugus station became the shipping point for great quantities of cheese, butter, apples, and other commodities to all parts of the country. Several industries also spawned from the locations of the railroad including furniture factories, saw mills, a handle factory, and the box factory. Cattaraugus House, the fires hotel (and first frame building in the Village) was the meeting place for trading activity in the Village.

As time progressed, important evolving businesses included a tannery, an axe factory, and a creamery. Apple orchards furnished the farmers with a marketable produce, and eventually an evaporator to dry the apples was established. The maple syrup industry was also an important business for early settlers in the Village and Town. Other industries that sprung up during this time include a butter tub factory, carpet weaving shop, pearl ash shop, cheese box factory, cider mill and grist mill. When Setter Bros. developed in the early 1900's, the Village became a "company town"; the majority of residents worked to manufacture rolled paper sticks for lollipops and veneer wood products. 

Churches became an important social and spiritual connection for the early settlers of the Town and Village. Many of these residents were Irish and English immigrants with strong religious principals. The church often became a central location for dinners, parties, and informal gatherings. Significant early churches included the Methodist Episcopal, the Free Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist, and the Catholic.