1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Olean
OLEAN, a city of Cattaraugus county, in south-western New York, U.S.A., on Olean Creek and the N. side of the Allegheny river, 70 m. S.E. of Buffalo. Pop. (1880), 3036; (1890), 7358; (1900), 9462, of whom 1514 were foreign-born and 122 were negroes; (1910 census), 14,743. The city is served by the Erie, the Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern, and the Pennsylvania railways (the last has large car shops here); and is connected with Bradford, Pa., Allegany, Pa., Salamanca, N.Y., Little Valley, N.Y., and Bolivar, N.Y. by electric lines. Olean is situated in a level valley 1440 ft. above sea-level. The surrounding country is rich in oil and natural gas. Six miles from Olean and 2000 ft. above the sea-level is Rock City, a group of immense, strangely regular, conglomerate rocks (some of them pure white) covering about 40 acres. They are remnants of a bed of Upper Devonian Conglomerate, which broke along the joint planes, leaving a group of huge blocks. In the city are a public library, a general hospital and a state armoury; and at Allegany (pop. 1905, 1330), about 3 m. W. of Olean, is St Bonaventure's College (1850; Roman CathoHc). Olean's factory product was valued at $4,677,477 in 1905; the city is the terminus of an Ohio pipe line, and of a sea-board pipe line for petroleum; and among its industries are oil-refining and the refining of wood alcohol, tanning, currying, and finishing leather; and the manufacture of flour, glass (mostly bottles), lumber, &c. The vicinity was settled in 1804, and this was the first township organized (1808), being then coextensive with the county. Olean Greek was called Ischue (or Ischua); then Olean was suggested, possibly in reference to the oil-springs in the vicinity. The village was officially called Hamilton for a time, but Olean was the name given to the post-office in 1817, and Olean Point was the popular local name. In 1909 several suburbs, including the village of North Olean (pop. in 1965. 1761), were annexed to Olean, considerably increasing its area and population.
See History of Cattaraugus County, New York (Philadelphia, 1879).