Higgins was governor of New York in The site was surveyed by , and a map from that year shows a basic street pattern that still survives, along with most of the modern street names. After river travel declined, Olean became the regional railroad hub. Higgins' family owned grocery stores in the area, and Higgins also ran this business before his political career. This period ended with the creation of the great canals, especially the Erie Canal in In , the city is called Olean, without the "Point", on county maps.
The Allegheny River was a major transportation route. Olean was incorporated as a village in , and as a city in In Olean was formally incorporated by the New York State Legislature , and the trustees elected at the first subsequent town meeting were Dr. The surface is a hilly upland, separated into two distinct parts by the valley of the Allegheny. The area was first settled by Europeans around , called by the Indian name Ischua. Barse, Charles Thing, and John K. Nonetheless, Olean prospered and was soon the central town of the region. Your co-operation in the matter the effect of which, though not important in itself, may be so on account of precision will oblige. During the late 19th century, Olean had a few mills, a bicycle company, a manufacturer of mechanical pumps, and a glass works, among other factories. Olean grew quickly as a transportation hub for migrants taking the Allegheny River into Ohio. The site was surveyed by , and a map from that year shows a basic street pattern that still survives, along with most of the modern street names. Olean was rivals with the comparably populated, but much newer, city of Salamanca city , New York at the turn of the 20th century, but the decline of the timber industry in southwestern Cattaraugus County and complications with Salamanca being situated on borrowed Seneca Nation land allowed Olean to continue growing while Salamanca declined. Confusion might arise from the various spellings, of which to obviate all risk I have concluded so to do as proposed. In , the Wenro tribes became the first victims of a series of brutal conflicts known as the Second Beaver War. This was a time of great western expansion into places like Ohio and Indiana. Olean was nicknamed "Little Chicago" in the press, due to its connection with mobsters and bootleggers, and Capone was a frequent visitor. During the American Revolutionary War , the Sullivan Expedition established the first road to what would become Olean, blazing a trail to what is now Kittanning, Pennsylvania along the path of what is now New York State Route To this day, Olean is one of the few smaller cities in New York State to be home to a governor. Originally the entire territory of the county of Cattaraugus was called the Town of Olean, formed March 11, The bearer being properly instructed, there will be thereafter no difficulty. Oil and rum-running[ edit ] Oil was first discovered in the region by a French explorer in , but it was rediscovered for commercial use during the Pennsylvania oil rush. Local stories relating to this period are numerous. Al Capone of Chicago, probably the most famous gang leader of the time, visited Olean in pursuance of his illegal endeavors. Oil produced on both sides of the state line e. Hoops' brother Robert came to the site and built the first permanent structure near today's Forness Park, calling the area Hamilton in honor of Alexander Hamilton. Dempsey, the Chief of Police, did not condone these thugs or their illegal activities. For a short time, Olean was the world's largest oil depot, complete with a "tank city" on the edge of town.
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