Canisteo, New York

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For the village located within this town, see Canisteo (village), New York.
Canisteo is located in New York
Location of Canisteo in New York
Coordinates: 42°16′13″N 77°36′20″W / 42.27028°N 77.60556°W / 42.27028; -77.60556Coordinates: 42°16′13″N 77°36′20″W / 42.27028°N 77.60556°W / 42.27028; -77.60556
Country United States
State New York
County Steuben
 • Total 54.4 sq mi (141 km2)
Population (Census 2010)[1]
 • Total 3,391
 • Density 62/sq mi (24/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)

Canisteo is a town in Steuben County, New York, United States. The population was 3,391 at the 2010 census.[1] The name was taken from a former Indian village located here.

The Town of Canisteo is in the westernmost part of the county, bordering Allegany County and southeast of Hornell, New York.

The town contains a village also named Canisteo.


The Senecas had a major village here called "Kah-ni-sti-oh." The first settlers arrived around 1788, making Canisteo one of the earliest locations occupied in the county.

Canisteo is rich in Indian lore. It is the site of the largest Living Sign in the world, noted by both Ripleys Believe it or Not and the Registry of Historical Places.[citation needed] It is 60 by 400 feet, and consists of Scotch Pine. The seeds for it were planted in 1934.[2]

The town was formed in 1796 at the time of the creation of the county and is one of its original towns. From parts of Canisteo came, in whole or part, the Towns of West Union, Hartsville, Hornellsville (1920), Greenwood (1827), Troupsburg (1808, 1820) and Jasper (1927).

The population of Canisteo in 1905 was 3,171.

Business and industry[edit]

The original activities in the town of Canisteo were farming and lumbering; the Canisteo River offered transportation for products.[3]


The Town of Canisteo's schools are all located in the Village of Canisteo. The oldest school, a wooden frame building on Fifth Street, was used as a feed store before being torn down in the 1950s, replaced by a bus garage at 22 Fifth Street. Adjacent to it to the south, between Fifth and Sixth Streets, is the Rotary Field, which remained the venue for school sports until the 1990s, when new facilities were built on Purdy Creek Road.

Canisteo Academy, a brick building, was built on Greenwood Street and opened in 1871. It possessed an observatory and a six-foot telescope, unusual for a school in that period.[4] An elementary school was built in 1914 just to the south. In 1937, with consolidation of the town schools, the Academy building was demolished, and a new Central School was constructed at 84 Greenwood Street, conserving the rear portion (with the heating equipment) of the elementary school. An addition was constructed in 1953. In 1959 a new elementary school was constructed further south, at 120 Greenwood Street, including a competition swimming pool. In the vote authorizing the construction, the swimming pool was on the ballot separately, but both passed, the pool by a small margin. At present the building houses both the Elementary and a Middle School. In 2004 the Canisteo schools merged with those of Greenwood to form the Canisteo-Greenwood School District.

Canisteo-Greenwood is the only school in Steuben County that has an orchestra as well as a band. The only other orchestra, in the much larger city of Corning, closed about 1990.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 54.4 square miles (140.8 km²), all of it land.

The Canisteo River flows through the north part of the town.

New York State Route 248 begins at New York State Route 36 in Canisteo village.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 891
1830 620 −30.4%
1840 941 51.8%
1850 2,030 115.7%
1860 2,337 15.1%
1870 2,435 4.2%
1880 3,604 48.0%
1890 3,629 0.7%
1900 3,432 −5.4%
1910 3,441 0.3%
1920 2,901 −15.7%
1930 3,391 16.9%
1940 3,381 −0.3%
1950 3,568 5.5%
1960 3,652 2.4%
1970 3,777 3.4%
1980 3,991 5.7%
1990 3,636 −8.9%
2000 3,583 −1.5%
2010 3,391 −5.4%
Est. 2014 3,328 [5] −1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 3,583 people, 1,423 households, and 980 families residing in the town. The population density was 65.9 people per square mile (25.4/km²). There were 1,704 housing units at an average density of 31.3 per square mile (12.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.24% White, 0.20% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.25% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.84% of the population.

There were 1,423 households out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.1% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $35,308, and the median income for a family was $41,859. Males had a median income of $32,225 versus $20,192 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,162. About 8.8% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.9% of those under age 18 and 2.3% of those age 65 or over.

Communities and locations in the Town of Canisteo[edit]

  • Adrian – A hamlet in the northeast part of the town, east of Canisteo village on County Road 119 by the Canisteo River.
  • Bennetts – A hamlet at the south town line on NY-248 and Bennetts Creek.
  • Bennetts Creek – A north-flowing stream entering the Canisteo River by Canisteo village.
  • Browns Crossing – A hamlet by the east town line on County Road 119 by the Canisteo River.
  • Canisteo – The Village of Canisteo, at the junction of Routes 36 and 248 by the Canisteo River.
  • Canisteo Center – A hamlet east of Canisteo village on County Road 119.
  • Carson – A location south of Canisteo Center.
  • Dead Man's Hole – A swimming area on the west bank of Bennetts Creek south of Canisteo village and east of NY 36.
  • Gravel Run – A hamlet north of South Canisteo on NY-36.
  • Purdy Creek – An east-flowing stream entering Bennett's Creek by Canisteo village.
  • Rock Run – A location north of South Canisteo.
  • South Canisteo – A hamlet southeast of Canisteo village on NY-36.


Further reading[edit]

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