(Courtesy of the Gowanda Historical Society)
The Gowanda Historical Museum is located at 3 Chestnut Street, Gowanda. Hours of operation are:
1:00PM - 4:00 PM Thursdays
April through December
The name "Gowanda" is derived from the Seneca Indian phrase meaning "a valley among the hills" or "under the cliffs," referring to the village's location below the Zoar Valley gorge along Cattaraugus Creek. Occupied by various Indian tribes before the American Revolution, the westward movement of our growing nation brought the first settlers here from New England early in the 19th century.
What is now Gowanda was settled in 1810 by Turner Aldrich, who bought 707 acres on both sides of the creek from the Holland Land Company. He cleared the land, built a cabin, a sawmill and a gristmill. The settlement was called Aldrich's Mills until 1823 when the name was changed to Lodi. The village was incorporated as Gowanda in 1848.
Ahaz Allen settled next in 1812, erecting a cabin above Aldrich's in what is now called Hidi. The first white child born here was his daughter, Caroline, in 1813. The next year he dug a race, dammed the creek, and built a sawmill. Allen built the first frame house here in 1815 on what is now Beech Street. It burned and was torn down in 1970.
Those who followed these pioneers to this beautiful valley have each left their mark, large or small, in its streets, buildings, factories, businesses and institutions. The history of Gowanda is charted through fire and flood, economic boom or bust, immigration and migration, and the inevitable march of time.
First Bridge over Cattaraugus Creek
First Post Office, Aldrich Street
First School, Buffalo and Mechanic Streets
First cemetery, near Seneca Street
First newspaper, "Lodi Pioneer"
Town of Persia formed from Perrysburg
Great fire destroys downtown Gowanda
Flood destroys Main Street Bridge
Col. Thomas J. Parker commands 64th NY Regiment in Civil War 1867 Pine
Many brick homes and stores built
Railroad station opens
Bank of Gowanda opens
Fire Department organizes
Iron bridge on Main Street opens
Gowanda Cooperative Savings and Loan Association organized
1896 Gaensslen, Fisher & Co tannery located in Hidi
Gowanda State Homeopathic Hospital opens
Eastern Tanners Glue Co built
J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital opens in Perrysburg
Hollywood Theatre build by Wilhelm family
New Junior-Senior high school dedicated
Iron bridge replaced by modern bridge