History

(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.

Historical Notes
1820  First Bridge over Cattaraugus Creek
1820  First Post Office, Aldrich Street
1824  First School, Buffalo and Mechanic Streets
1820  First cemetery, near Seneca Street
1827  First newspaper, "Lodi Pioneer"
1835  Town of Persia formed from Perrysburg
1856  Great fire destroys downtown Gowanda
1861  Flood destroys Main Street Bridge
1861  Col. Thomas J. Parker commands 64th NY Regiment in Civil War 1867  Pine Hill Cemetery
1970  Many brick homes and stores built
1874  Railroad station opens
1881  Bank of Gowanda opens
1884  Fire Department organizes
1889  Iron bridge on Main Street opens
1889  Gowanda Cooperative Savings and Loan Association organized
1896  Gaensslen, Fisher & Co tannery located in Hidi
1898  Gowanda State Homeopathic Hospital opens
1904  Eastern Tanners Glue Co built
1912  J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital opens in Perrysburg
1926  Hollywood Theatre build by Wilhelm family
1956  New Junior-Senior high school dedicated
1963  Iron bridge replaced by modern bridge


Village of Gowanda, 27 East Main Street, Gowanda, NY  14070  Phone: (716) 532-3353  Fax: (716) 532-2938