Cuba, New York

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For the village located within this town, see Cuba (village), New York.
Cuba, New York
Downtown Cuba, NY
Downtown Cuba, NY
Cuba is located in New York
Location of Cuba in New York
Coordinates: 42°13′04″N 78°16′31″W / 42.21778°N 78.27528°W / 42.21778; -78.27528Coordinates: 42°13′04″N 78°16′31″W / 42.21778°N 78.27528°W / 42.21778; -78.27528
Country United States
State New York
County Allegany
 • Type Town Council
 • Town Supervisor Barbara Deming (D, R)
 • Town Council
 • Total 35.8 sq mi (93 km2)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 3,243
 • Density 91/sq mi (35/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)

Cuba is a town in Allegany County, New York, United States. The Town lies on the western border of Allegany County, with the village of Cuba within its borders. Cuba is approximately an hour and a half drive south of Rochester and Buffalo, New York.[citation needed] The federally recognized tribe of Seneca Native Americans has a reservation on the western town line. As of the 2010 Census, the total population was 3,243.[1]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 35.8 square miles (92.8 km²), of which, 35.1 square miles (91.0 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km²) of it (1.95%) is water.

The west town line is the border of Cattaraugus County, New York.

The Southern Tier Expressway (Interstate 86 and New York State Route 17) pass through the town running east-west. New York State Route 305 is a major north-south highway that intersects New York State Route 446 in the village of Cuba.

Cuba is on the main line of the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad, which operates the former Erie Railroad between Hornell, New York and Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Communities and locations in the Town of Cuba[edit]

  • Black Creek – A former community in the town, now in the Town of New Hudson. Black Creek is mentioned often in the early history of the town.
  • Cuba – A village in the western part of the town.
  • Cuba Lake – A lake in the northwest corner of the town.
  • North Cuba – A hamlet north of Cuba village on Route 305.
  • Oil Springs Creek – A stream passing through the Village of Cuba.
  • Oil Springs Reservation – A reservation of the Seneca at the western town line.
  • South Cuba – A hamlet south of Cuba village on Route 305.
  • Seymour – A former community in the town located near North Cuba.
  • Summit – A location east of Cuba village on County Road 20, also called "Cuba Summit."
  • Tannery Creek – A stream flowing across the town and through Cuba village.

Adjacent towns[edit]

Cuba is north of the town of Clarksville and south of the town of New Hudson. It is east of the town of Ischua in Cattaraugus County and west of the town of Friendship.


John S. Minard's Civic History of Cuba, published in 1910, tells us that

"Cuba is a Roman word and means Goddess or Protector of the Young. So in all probability, the Legislators of 1822, when they set aside the township from the town of Friendship, by accident, stumbled upon the word and appropriated the name, the significance of which is pleasant to think of."

Simeon DeWitt, the surveyor general for New York State in the early 19th century, was an avid student of ancient Roman mythology and is credited with suggesting the name.

Some people[who?] think that the town was named after the island of Cuba. A common reason for this is that there are other towns in the area with names of Spanish cities or towns, such as Salamanca, Cadiz, Panama, Mexico and Bolivar, to name a few. Belfast, although not a Spanish name, has as its namesake the capital of Northern Ireland.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 1,059
1840 1,768 66.9%
1850 2,243 26.9%
1860 2,187 −2.5%
1870 2,397 9.6%
1880 2,203 −8.1%
1890 2,328 5.7%
1900 2,369 1.8%
1910 2,431 2.6%
1920 2,395 −1.5%
1930 2,256 −5.8%
1940 2,507 11.1%
1950 2,784 11.0%
1960 3,116 11.9%
1970 3,165 1.6%
1980 3,428 8.3%
1990 3,401 −0.8%
2000 3,392 −0.3%
2010 3,243 −4.4%
Est. 2014 3,195 [2] −1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[3]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 3,392 people, 1,336 households, and 915 families residing in the town. The population density was 96.6 people per square mile (37.3/km²). There were 1,710 housing units at an average density of 48.7 per square mile (18.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.91% White, 0.27% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.27% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.09% of the population.

There were 1,336 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $33,939, and the median income for a family was $37,969. Males had a median income of $29,291 versus $21,115 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,247. About 6.0% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.



The Town of Cuba was formed in 1822 from part of the Town of Friendship. In 1830, Cuba was reduced by the formation of the Town of Genesee. In 1835, Cuba was partitioned again to form the Town of Clarksville.

Formerly known as Township 3 Range 2 of the Holland Land Purchase, the settlement of Cuba began in 1817, and the town was separated in 1822, and a village incorporated in 1850. Between 1810 and the late 1820s the place saw a boom in both settlement and population as many of the town's first businesses, churches and schools were established.

The McKinney Stables of Empire City Farms was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.[5]



Along with neighboring Town of Friendship, New York, which houses Friendship Dairies, Cuba has been a top producer of dairy products since the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, Cuba was known as the 'Cheese Capital of the World', but has since lost that reputation with the economic downturn in Upstate-Central-Western New York and the closing of several factories. Today, it is home to the Empire Cheese Factory, located on Haskell Road in the south end of Cuba. Empire Cheese is one of the town's top employers. Cuba is also the home of the Cuba Cheese Shoppe. Located on Genesee Street, the Cuba Cheese Shoppe serves as a retail outlet for many types of cheeses and dairy products. Cuba Cheese has won several awards and is known as one of the top producers of New York State Cheddar. Every year during the first week of June the town hosts Cuba Dairy Week. Cuba is also home to Farnsworth Cookies and many other local businesses.

Points of interest[edit]

Cuba Lake[edit]

About two miles (3 km) north of the village is a man-made lake at 1,545 feet (471 m) above sea level, Cuba Lake is the highest reservoir in Allegany County. In western New York State, Cuba Lake is the sixth highest reservoir. (Ref.: Digital copy of the US Geological Survey map.) It was constructed in 1858 at a cost of $150,000, as a reservoir to feed the Genesee Valley Canal. At the time of its construction, Cuba Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world. There are many game fish to fish for in the lake including Bass, Walleye, and Northern Pike.

Today, the lake mainly serves as a source of recreation for locals. It is surrounded by some 300+ homes, many of which are year-round dwellings. The road surrounding the lake is about 7 miles (11 km) in length and very narrow.

The Seneca Oil Spring[edit]

The spring is located near the spillway end of Cuba Lake on the Oil Springs Reservation, Allegany County, New York. This is the site of the famed spring described by the Franciscan Missionary Joseph de La Roche Daillon in 1627, the first recorded mention of oil on the North American Continent. In 1927, the New York State Oil Producers Association sponsored the dedication of a monument at the site describing the history of the oil industry in North America. The site is now under the supervision of the County of Allegany and a picnic area is available for those visiting there.

Block Barn[edit]

Cuba is also home to what the locals refer to as the Block Barn on Route 305 just past the Conrail overpass south of the Historic District. Constructed in 1909, this structure, which is made almost entirely of cement, spans nearly 350 feet (110 m) long and is completely fireproof. It was built to house William Simpson's "McKinney" horses. It has been a popular stable and the Czar of Russia sent a mare there to be mated with "Mckinney". It was once considered by the Anheuser Busch company as a spot to house its famous Clydesdales. Each year in September it hosts the Cuba Garlic Festival

South Street Historic District[edit]

The South Street Historic District encompasses a four block, one quarter mile section of South Street (Route 305), the main north-south route through the village. The street is one of the village's most prestigious residential areas. Designated in 1988, when it was added to the State and National Historic Registers.

Story Block Building[edit]

In the historic district, the Story Block building was built by James Story in 1876 and is currently being renovated.

Liberty Pole[edit]

A 150-foot tall flag pole with a 28’ by 38’ flag flies on main street. The pole was erected in August 2009 by the U.S. Flag Company of Beaumont, Texas and only one other pole east of the Mississippi, located in Baltimore, Md., is as tall. It was dedicated with a flag raising on Sept. 11, 2009. Before its arrival in Cuba, the flag flew over the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C.

Willow Street Walking Bridge[edit]

The Willow Street Walking Bridge is a walking bridge located on Willow Street.


Local schools[edit]

The main high school in Cuba is Cuba-Rushford Middle High School, which formed after a merger of the Cuba and Rushford, New York school districts. The Middle High School sits north of the town on Route 305 and teaches grades 6-12. What is known as the "Old" High School on Elm Street now teaches grades K-5 as the "Old" Elementary School across the street is now the Elm Street Academy as part of a Boces program. The mascot of Cuba was the Greyhounds until the merger in the mid-1990s when the mascot was renamed to the Rebels. The Rebel's mascot is very similar looking to Yosemite Sam. There are slight variations in the character design in order to avoid copyright issues.

Higher education[edit]

West of Cuba, between the village of Allegany, New York and Olean is St. Bonaventure University; SBU's campus is located on the Olean/Allegany border. Some of SBU's teams, such as the basketball and baseball teams, play in the Atlantic 10 Conference of NCAA Division 1.

Several of the State University of New York campuses are near Cuba. Olean is home to a Jamestown Community College satellite campus. About 30 miles (48 km) east of Cuba in Alfred, New York are Alfred University and Alfred State College. About 20 miles north of Cuba, in Houghton, is Houghton College. Buffalo, New York is home to several universities and colleges.


  • Cuba First Baptist Church.
  • Christ Church (Episcopal)
  • Cuba United Methodist Church
  • Catholic - Our Lady of Angels
  • North Park Wesleyan Church, Pastor Jonathan Ward


  • Cemetery - code 15-1; (Town 3, Range 2HC, lot 45), Cuba Village
  • Cemetery - code 15-2; (lot 54), Witter Road
  • Cemetery - code 15-3; (lot 45), Cuba Village
  • Catholic Cemetery - code 15-4; (lot 45), Cuba Village
  • North Cuba Cemetery - code 15-5; (lot 47), near Cuba Dam;

Also list of Soldiers buried in North Cuba Cemetery.

  • Cemetery - code 15-6; near Cuba Lake
  • Cuba Cemetery tombstone list (not sure which one above this refers to).
  • code numbers refer to the Allegany County Cemetery Index card file at the Allegany County

Historical Society and FHL/FHC microfilm. See WNYGS Journal, Vol. II, No. 1

Addresses of interest[edit]

Cuba Historical Society PO Box 200, 16 Genesee Street, Cuba, NY 14727

Town Historian David Crowley, Cuba Town Historian 44 South Street, Cuba, NY 14727

Cuba Town Clerk Nancy Orcutt 36 Spring Street, Cuba, NY 14727

Cuba Friends of Architecture Donald Donovan, President PO Box 274, Cuba, NY 14727

Cuba Fire Department Chief Dave Hardman, PO Box 84, 51 East Main Street, Cuba, NY 14727 ( [1])

Cuba Chamber of Commerce President Lee James, PO Box 233, 5 West Main Street, Cuba, NY 14727 ( [2])

Notable residents[edit]

  • Charles "Pa" Ingalls, father of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the popular Little House on the Prairie, was born on a farm in the North Cuba area. Several members of the Ingalls family had settled there prior to 1835, and several brothers all had adjoining farmlands.
  • General Calvin T. Chamberlain was a brigadier general of the New York State Militia.In 1835, he opened a public house and general store, and was appointed Postmaster of Cuba. He was a member of the New York State Assembly (Allegany Co.) in 1836 and 1837. He was a member of the New York State Senate (6th D.) from 1843 to 1846, sitting in the 66th, 67th, 68th and 69th New York State Legislatures.
  • John J. "Elmer" Lawton, a noted mayor of Cuba and author, who wrote several books about growing up with his 14 siblings. At 103, he is still living in Houghton, NY retirement home.[citation needed]
  • Loron F. Packard, Medal of Honor recipient for service during the American Civil War.[6] Packard is buried in Cuba Cemetery.
  • Charles Edwin "Charley" Ackerly, born in Cuba, Olympic gold medal for wrestling, 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.[7]
  • William Orton, President of Western Union.[8][9]
  • Edward B. Vreeland, born in Cuba, politician and U.S. Representative.[10][11]
  • Naomi Olive, from Cuba, notable for having been murdered by her 16-year-old daughter Marlene and her boyfriend Chuck Riley. The book Bad Blood: A Family Murder in Marin County (1982), by Richard M. Levine, was about her life and death.
  • James Pond, prominent abolitionist and a Medal of Honor winner for service during the American Civil War.



  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  2. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  6. ^ "Loron F. Packard". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Charley Ackerly". Sports Reference. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Previous IRS Commissioners (1862-1955)". Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "Death of William Orton". New York Times. 23 April 1878. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Edward Butterfield Vreeland". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Northrup, Cynthia Clark (2003). The American Economy: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 9. ISBN 1-57607--866-3. 

External links[edit]