Gowanda, New York
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2008)|
|• Total||1.6 sq mi (4.2 km2)|
|• Land||1.6 sq mi (4.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||761 ft (232 m)|
|• Density||1,700/sq mi (650/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0951430|
Gowanda is a village in New York in the United States and lies partly in Erie County and partly in Cattaraugus County. The population was 2,709 at the 2010 census. The name is a local native term meaning "almost surrounded by hills" or "beautiful place among the hills. The Erie County portion of Gowanda is part of the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, while the Cattaraugus County portion is part of the Olean Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Gowanda Airport (D59) is a general aviation grass strip and is part of the Gernatt Family of Companies' land, located northwest of the village.
Gowanda is located at (42.463197, -78.936350).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.2 km²), of which 1.6 square miles (4.1 km²) is land and 0.62% is water.
The village is split by Cattaraugus Creek, the dividing boundary between Erie and Cattaraugus counties with the northern part of the village in Erie County and the southern in Cattaraugus.
The Cattaraugus Reservation is to the west of the village.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,842 people, 1,161 households, and 667 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,772.3 people per square mile (685.8/km²). There were 1,277 housing units at an average density of 796.4 per square mile (308.2/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 62.47%% White, 0.49% African American, 41.54% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.21% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.
There were 1,161 households out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 36.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the village the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 23.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.5 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $29,565, and the median income for a family was $39,094. Males had a median income of $32,279 versus $25,281 for females. The per capita income for the village was $16,323. About 9.5% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.2% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.
The village was settled around 1810, and was originally called "Aldrich's Mills." The village later adopted the name, "Lodi," though there was confusion in mail delivery due to "Lodi" in Seneca County, New York, so that name was dropped when the village was incorporated, though the post office retained the name, "Persia." American Indians in the area had once identified it as "Juc-Gowanda," meaning "A valley among the hills." The word, "Juc" was dropped, and the name, "Gowanda" was adopted. The Village of Gowanda was first incorporated in 1848, and was re-incorporated in 1878 under a new state regulation and extended its territory to absorb the nearby hamlet of Hidi.
A historical book about Gowanda identifies 120 men, including Caucasians and American Indians, who were Gowanda residents and who fought in the American Civil War in New York regiments. The same book also identifies six additional men who had been Gowanda residents, but who enlisted and fought in the Civil War with regiments from Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Although not located within Gowanda but long associated with Gowanda, the Thomas Asylum for Orphan and Destitute Indian Children (also known as the "Thomas Indian School") was built following a gift of 50 acres of land on the Cattaraugus Reservation, and was incorporated in 1855. In June 1856, the institution opened and was immediately at capacity in housing 50 orphaned American Indian children. The Thomas Asylum housed and schooled orphaned American Indian children for decades, until the latter part of the twentieth century.
Most of the village in Erie County was destroyed by a fire in 1856, and another fire in 1875 burned many businesses in the Cattaraugus part.
In 1894, the Erie County Legislature passed an Act that gave rise to the Homeopathic State Hospital (later known as the "Gowanda Psychiatric Center" prior to being much later-converted into correctional facilities) in Gowanda and Collins, New York. Land purchased for the State Hospital by Erie County included 500 acres and was known as the "Taylor tract." When the State Care Act was effected in 1894, the land was transferred to the State of New York, which then conveyed it to the State Hospital. Today, the correctional facilities are still situated along Taylor Hollow Road in Gowanda, with such road named for the farmer who owned the land that was purchased and used, originally, for the State Hospital.
Important historical industries that flourished in Gowanda during the twentieth century, but which also polluted the adjoining Cattaraugus Creek, include the Peter Cooper Corporation Glue Factory and the Moench Tannery.
A little-known fact about Gowanda, not written in any history books and known only to some locals, is that it was a station in the Underground Railroad. A functional underground tunnel of the Underground Railroad, still in existence today, connects a former train drop-off area of the New York and Lake Erie Railroads near the foot of Gowanda-Zoar Road to an outlet on the property formerly owned by William and Evelyn (Merrill) Glazier, a local surgeon and nurse. The home was used as a safe house for former slaves escaping to free states and Canada from Southern states around the 1860s and the time of the American Civil War. A homemade railroad sign is posted on the property at the location of the tunnel's outlet.
Featured in AAA's travel guide, Gowanda features the Hollywood Happening, bringing a focus to the historic and restored Hollywood Theatre. The Hollywood Happening was previously called the Harley Happening but was changed after much controversy in the Gowanda Penny Saver News due to monetary sponsorship by the two largest contributors, Gernatt Family of Companies and Reid's Harley Davidson. It lasts from Friday to Sunday, usually the first weekend in June. Main Street of Gowanda is shut down for the event, which provides parking for numerous motorcycles and beer tents. Many local Western New York rock, country, and blues bands are featured. There are also several food and merchandise vendors who sponsor and participate in the event. Attendance for the 2008 Hollywood Happening was estimated to be around 22,000 people for the entire weekend.
Beginning about 2000, the Harvest Heritage Festival has been held every year in the fall, with many local business and private home owners opening up their residences for historical garden tours. A scarecrow contest is also held where local businesses compete in building scarecrows. Afterwards, the scarecrows are hung up around town to scare the children on Halloween. Gowanda also features Pine Hill Cemetery tours that are free and open to the public. The events usually last two hours, and are held every weekend during the month of October at midnight. Tours include period reenactments of those buried in the cemetery, and detailed stories of their lives. A staged reenactment of the 1861 murder of Private Lee Crawford and Beulah Snyder also takes place. Locally-brewed Chuck Barlow's Millhouse Cider sponsors the event, and offers refreshments during the festivities.
Parts of the 1987 comedy movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and John Candy, were filmed at the Gowanda Train Depot, as well as the Olympia Diner on Jamestown Street. The New York and Lake Erie Railroad, a short rail line serving northwestern Cattaraugus County, is headquartered in Gowanda and offers freight and occasional passenger service.
In August 2009 a great flood occurred in Gowanda and devastated much of the town. One man drowned, and houses and cars were washed away. During the flood, Gowanda’s water reservoir was completely destroyed leaving the town without water. It was estimated that it would take one year to rebuild the reservoir. There were two fatalities directly caused from the flooding. President Barack Obama declared it a disaster, and FEMA was tapped to assist the town in rebuilding. The Tri-County Memorial Hospital (Tri-County) was devastated beyond repair during the flood, and was demolished. Initial plans were to relocate the hospital to another location in Perrysburgout of the flood zone which would utilize $18.5 million in FEMA aid. TLC, the operators of Tri-County, would have needed to raise $2.3 million to fund the project. The proposal came under fire from residents of towns to the southeast, such as Cattaraugus and Little Valley, who noted that Gowanda is located less than 15 miles from hospitals in either direction (Dunkirk and Springville), while residents of Cattaraugus and Little Valley must travel 25 miles or more to the nearest hospital (which, until the flood, was Tri-County). In July 2013, TLC announced it was abandoning its plans to reconstruct the hospital, noting that the existing hospitals in the region had more than enough capacity to meet demand, and would instead maintain an urgent care facility in Gowanda. Gary Rhodes, interim CEO of Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York, stated that it would not be economical to rebuild the hospital due to declining revenues, decreasing area population, and because of other hospitals within the system being nearby. The hospital's closure had a significant negative impact on the village, leading to the closure of the local Burger King and declines at several local businesses.
- Former US Congress Member Daniel Garnsey
- Daniel R. Gernatt, Jr., Chief Executive Officer and mining magnate of Gernatt Family of Companies
- New York State Assemblyman Joseph Giglio
- Former US Congress Member Bill Paxon
- Songwriter John Elliot
Communities and locations in Gowanda
- Beverly Hills Trailer Park – A trailer park in Gowanda on Sandhill Road.
- Chang Hu Park – A memorial park dedicated to the late Dr. Chang Hu who was influential in the town's planning and building process.
- Gowanda Central School System - A public school system that includes Gowanda Central High and Middle Schools, Gowanda Elementary School, and Aldrich Street (primary) School.
- Gowanda Correctional Facility – A NYS Medium Security prison located right next to Collins Correctional Facility separated by Middle Road. Middle Road is the border between the town of Collins and the village of Gowanda.
- Hutzenlaub Hill – A large hill on the outskirts of Gowanda which have had several German immigrant families settle there over multiple generations.
- Maltbie Hill – Home of the Maltbie Hill Coasters Association.
- McIntosh Woods – Woods located between the town of Collins and the village of Gowanda. It was named due to the now wild McIntosh apple trees which were planted for the former psychiatric facility patients to enjoy.
- Riverside Park – located along the Cattaraugus Creek in the heart of Gowanda which was revitalized into a historic park area.
- Zoar Valley – A scenic valley formed by Cattaraugus Creek.
Formerly the Gowanda Psychiatric Center, the Gowanda Correctional Facility, which opened in 1994, and the Collins Correctional Facility, which opened in 1982, are adjacent to the village. They are medium security prisons and overlook the village below. Gowanda Correctional facility houses over 1100 inmates and feature one of the largest sex offender counseling programs of the New York State prison systems. Collins Correctional houses less than 800.
Gowanda is home to Gowanda Middle School, Gowanda High School, Gowanda Elementary School, Gowanda Christian Academy, and St. Joseph's Roman Catholic School which are all primary and/or secondary schools.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Historical sketch of the Village of Gowanda, N.Y. in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of its incorporation, August 8, 1898, Buffalo, NY: The Matthews-Northrup Company, Leonard, I.R., Reprinted 1998, Salem, MA: Higginson Book Company
- Community gets gift of Hollywood Theater for restoration, Buffalo News - Southern Tier Edition, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 16 December 1996, O'Brien, B. | Accessdate 2 November 2013.
- Gowanda reeling under new job loss: Closing of tannery follows shutdown of psychiatric center, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 30 May 1992, Robinson, D., In Highbeam.com, Retrieved 12 November 2013
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Village of Gowanda, NY: Bridging two counties, est. 1848, VillageofGowanda.com, Gowanda, NY, Retrieved 12 November 2013
- IMBd: Planes, trains & automobiles: Filming locations, IMBd.com, Retrieved 12 November 2013
- New York & Lake Erie Railroad, nylerr.com, Retrieved 12 November 2013
- A change of plans: LERHSNY will not rebuild Tri-County in Perrysburg, The Observer, Dunkirk, NY: John D'Agostino, 28 July 2013, McDonnell, S., Retrieved 12 November 2013
- Spirit of Gowanda - 1995 Annual Report, Gowanda Area Chamber of Commerce, Gowanda, NY, February 1996.
- 1996 Awards Presented at Chamber Dinner, Gowanda Penny Saver News, Hamburg, NY: HK Publications, 8 January 1996.
- Gernatt Companies, Collins, NY, Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- Gowanda Area Historical Society & Museum
- Gowanda Central School District
- Gowanda Chamber of Commerce Information
- Gowanda Free Library
- Gowanda Information
- The Hollywood Happening
- Village of Gowanda