Lancaster, New York

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For the village located within this town, see Lancaster (village), New York.
Warren Hull House Aug 10.JPG
The Warren Hull House, located at the intersection of Genesee St., and Pavement Rd. in the Town of Lancaster. It is the oldest surviving stone structure in Erie County, built in 1810.
Country United States
State New York
County Erie County
Elevation 712 ft (217 m)
Coordinates 42°54′22″N 78°38′02″W / 42.90611°N 78.63389°W / 42.90611; -78.63389Coordinates: 42°54′22″N 78°38′02″W / 42.90611°N 78.63389°W / 42.90611; -78.63389
Area 37.9 sq mi (98.2 km2)
 - land 37.8 sq mi (98 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km2), 0.26%
Population 41,604 (2010)
Incorporated 1833
Town Supervisor Johanna Metz Coleman (D)
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 14086 14043
Area code 716
FIPS code 36-41135
GNIS feature ID 0955014
Location in Erie County and the state of New York.

Lancaster is a town in Erie County, New York, USA, located a short distance east of Buffalo. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 41,604.

Located within the Town of Lancaster is a village, also called Lancaster, and the eastern half of the Village of Depew. The western half of Depew lies within the Town of Cheektowaga.

The current Town Supervisor is Dino Fudoli.


In 1803, the Holland Land Company sold its first plot of land in the future town. The Town of Lancaster was formed from the Town of Clarence, New York in 1833. The town was named after Lancaster, Massachusetts, but the reason for applying this name is not known. Originally called Cayuga Creek, the town later incorporated and obtained the current name.

Lancaster contains the oldest stone structure in Erie County, the Warren Hull House. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.[1] Also located within the town is the Gipple cabin, the oldest wooden structure in Erie County. The cabin is located on private land just south of the northern town line. The "Gipple" Cabin was dismantled in the fall of 2013 and relocated to the Hull House property for future preservation.The Lancaster Bee News stated it was stored in a barn on the original property and not taken for restoration. The Lancaster District School No. 6 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.[1]

In 1857, the southern half of the town was taken to form the Town of Elma.

Once known as a small town with a small town atmosphere, Lancaster has, in recent years, evolved into a suburban community. Beginning in early 1990s, the town entered a period of rapid growth, with much development in the southern and eastern parts of the town. The William Street Intermediate school opened in the southern part of town in the mid-1990s and in 2003, the town and village police departments merged. Additions to the middle school and the William Street School to accommodate rising enrollment were finished in 2005.

Lancaster High School is the largest school in both school population and square feet in Erie County. With over 2,000 students, the building was expanded twice. First in 1970 and in 2000, a field house was added. In 2003, the high school opened up a new wing to house natural sciences classrooms.

Some of the town's biggest events are held in the Village of Lancaster. They are the Fourth of July Parade, and the Taste of Lancaster, a restaurant festival and charity fundraiser.[2] The Lancaster/Depew high school football game is held in October. The game dates back to 1919.

Lancaster once had its own professional football team in the 1910s. The Lancaster Malleables played in the New York Pro Football League and won the league championship in 1913 and 1914.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.9 square miles (98.2 km²), of which 37.8 square miles (98.0 km²) is land and 0.1 square mile (0.2 km²) (0.16%) is water.

The town is located on the northern and eastern side of Erie County and is east of the city of Buffalo.

Much of Lancaster is highly suburbanized, but the eastern section of the town, notably the area east of County Route 242 (Bowen Road), is only starting to undergo development, retaining a somewhat-rural character.

The western town line is marked by NY 78 and, south of NY 130, US 20. The New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) crosses the northern part of the town. NY 33 crosses the town immediately south of the Thruway, and US 20 crosses the central part of the town.

Adjacent towns and areas[edit]

The Town of Clarence is to the north, and the Town of Elma is to the south. The Town of Alden is to the east, and the Town of Cheektowaga is to the west.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,083
1850 3,794 82.1%
1860 4,659 22.8%
1870 4,336 −6.9%
1880 3,944 −9.0%
1890 3,962 0.5%
1900 8,757 121.0%
1910 9,663 10.3%
1920 13,172 36.3%
1930 15,260 15.9%
1940 15,299 0.3%
1950 18,471 20.7%
1960 25,605 38.6%
1970 30,634 19.6%
1980 30,144 −1.6%
1990 32,181 6.8%
2000 39,019 21.2%
2010 41,604 6.6%
Est. 2014 42,748 [3] 2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[4]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 39,019 people, 15,053 households, and 10,506 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,031.1 people per square mile (398.1/km²). There were 15,627 housing units at an average density of 413.0 per square mile (159.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.00% White, 0.81% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.12% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population.

There were 15,053 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.3% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $48,990, and the median income for a family was $59,712. Males had a median income of $41,501 versus $28,049 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,723. About 2.5% of families and 3.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.


The town's biggest areas include the Village of Lancaster, half the Village of Depew, and the two largest hamlets, Town Line and Bowmansville. The town also contains other smaller communities and hamlets.

  • Bowmansville – A large hamlet in the northwest corner of the town, located near Genesee Street (NY 33) between Harris Hill Road and Transit Road (NY 78). Ellicott Creek flows through the hamlet. The hamlet took its name from early settler Benjamin Bowman. The West Shore Railroad once passed through the hamlet and had a station on Maple Drive.
  • Town Line – A large hamlet at the intersection of Town Line Road and Broadway (US 20) on Lancaster's eastern town line. Notably, the hamlet seceded from the United States of America to join the Confederate States of America during the United States Civil War, officially voting to rejoin the Union in 1945.
  • Town Line Station – A location on Town Line Road, Lancaster's eastern town line; north of the Hamlet of Town Line. Located at the Norfolk Southern (formerly Erie Railroad) crossing at Town Line Road.
  • Dellwood – A location at the eastern town line on Town Line Road, where the former Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad crossed the highway. The abandoned railroad bed contains the Lancaster Heritage Trail, a bike path ending at Town Line Road.
  • East Lancaster – A location east of Lancaster Village and west of the Hamlet of Town Line; located on Broadway (US 20) between Bowen Road and Pavement Road.
  • Looneyville – A location at the intersection of Townline Road and Walden Avenue, north of Dellwood.
  • Wilhelm – A location at the intersection of Genesee Street (NY 33) and Gunnville Road east of Bowmansville.

Streams and waterways:

  • Cayuga Creek – A stream flowing westward through the town and village; flowing through Como Lake Park.
  • Ellicott Creek – A stream flowing westward through the northern part of the town, including the Hamlet of Bowmansville.
  • Little Buffalo Creek – a small creek branching from Cayuga Creek immediately east of the Bowen Road bridge.
  • Scajaquada Creek – A small stream that rises in the northern part of the town and flows west into Cheektowaga
  • Plumb Bottom Creek – A small stream flowing from the Town of Lancaster into the Village of Lancaster, finally ending up at Cayuga Creek.
  • Slate Bottom Creek – A small stream flowing through the southern part of the town.

Parks and recreation[edit]

The Town and Village of Lancaster contain the following parks:

  • Walden Pond Park, located on the corner of Walden Ave. and Ransom Rd. in the town. Contains baseball diamonds, volleyball courts, playgrounds, and a pond for fishing. The Lancaster-Depew Ponytails Softball League call this park their home.
  • Westwood Park, located between Pavement Rd. and Schwartz Rd. in the town. Contains playgrounds, baseball, softball, and soccer fields.
  • Como Lake Park, an Erie County park located in the Town and Village of Lancaster. Contains playgrounds, fields, trails, sledding hills, woods, bike paths, and shelters. Cayuga Creek flows through the park. Entrances in the town include the William St. entrance, and the Bowen Rd. entrance. Entrances in the village include a walkway entrance off Pardee Ave., and one on Como Park Blvd., adjacent from Quincey Ave.
  • Meadow Lea Park is a park located between Iroquois Ave. and Broezel Ave. in the town. The park includes a pool, a baseball field, and a playground.
  • The Bowmansville Fire Hall is home to a Town Parks and Recreation maintained softball field. The picnic shelter is a host for the summer recreation program.
  • Keysa Park is a village park located on Vandenburg Ave., that includes a pool, a playground, tennis courts, a football field, and a baseball field.
  • Mechanic Street Park is a small village park on Mechanic St. This park includes a playground, and tennis courts.
  • The Lancaster Heritage Trail is a bike trail located on the former D,L,& W railroad bed. The path runs for about 4 miles from the village line at Walter Winter Rd. to the town line at Townline Rd. The bike path passes by the Lancaster Swamps, and Willow Beach (now known as Lorall Lake).
  • Lorall Lake, or more widely know to Lancastrians as Willow Beach, is a former lake-beach known for its depth and clear water. The lake is located on Nichter Rd. in the town between Pavement Rd. and Cemetery Rd.
  • Elegant Builders Raceway Park is a 1/8th mile drag racing strip and oval track for other race cars. They host all sorts of events from test and tune drag racing and car shows to full on circuit racing

Historical buildings[edit]

The Town of Lancaster contains several historical buildings, Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings include the Warren Hull House, the Lancaster District School No. 6, and many of the Village of Lancaster's Multiple Property Submission properties, including the Bruce-Briggs Brick Block, Clark-Lester House, DePew Lodge No. 823, Free and Accepted Masons, US Post Office-Lancaster, Lancaster Municipal Building, Liebler-Rohl Gasoline Station, Miller-Mackey House, Dr. John J. Nowak House, Herman B. VanPeyma House, John Richardson House, Zuidema-Idsardi House and the John P. Sommers House. The twelve latter properties are located within the Village of Lancaster.

The US Post Office-Depew, which is located on The Town of Lancaster's side of The Village of Depew is technically in the Town of Lancaster, so it is included on the list of historic sites.

In 2001, VFW Post 7275 was named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Col. Matt Urban.


The town is home to Lancaster High School, four operating elementary schools; Como Park, Court Street, Hillview, John A. Sciole (which is actually located on the Cheektowaga side of the Village of Depew), and the former Central Avenue Elementary School. It also includes the William Street Intermediate School (4th, 5th and 6th grades), and the historic Lancaster Middle School (formerly named Aurora Middle School), which was the town's high school prior to the construction of the current one in 1953. They are all part of the Lancaster Central School District. There are also a number of private schools, including St. Mary's High School, St. Mary's on the Hill Elementary, and the now closed Our Lady of Pompeii Elementary.

The Lancaster Central School District is the largest school district in population, in Erie County with one high school. The district serves most of the town and village, including a large majority of the northern part of the Village of Depew, on both the Lancaster and Cheektowaga sides. The Depew Union Free School District serves most of the southern part of the Village of Depew, and almost none of the Town and/or Village of Lancaster.

Fire, Police and Emergency Medical Services[edit]

The Town of Lancaster is served by four volunteer fire companies. The fire companies are the Bowmansville Volunteer Fire Association, Town Line Fire Department, Twin District Fire Company, and Millgrove Volunteer Fire Department. Bomansville has 2 fire stations, Town Line has 2 fire stations, Twin District and Millgrove each run out of 1 respective station. Two of the fire companies are located within their respective hamlets, Bowmansville and Town Line. All four town companies respond to all alarms of fire along with requests for EMS.

The Millgrove Fire Company is actually not located in the Town of Lancaster. Millgrove is a hamlet in the Town of Alden, but because the small hamlet of Millgrove is so close to the northeastern portion of the Town of Lancaster, the fire company serves a very small portion of the town.

The Lancaster Village Fire Department serves the Village of Lancaster, with two stations. The main station located in the Lancaster Municipal Building and the Northside Station Two on West Drullard Avenue. The LFD does not respond to EMS calls, except when requested for calls such as MVA's, lift assists, etc.;

The Lancaster Police Department serves the public good for the Town & Village of Lancaster. Prior to the 21st Century, the town & village each had their own separate police departments. It was the first major consolidation in Western New York of law enforcement. The LPD operates with roughly 43 officers, which includes road patrol, bike team, school resource officer, Detective Bureau, and the police tactical team, the ERT (Emergency Response Team). The Lancaster Police Department operates out of the Lancaster Town Center, located at 525 Pavement Road. It was site of a former United States Army Nike Base, where the Police still operate out of the former administration building. Currently, a new Town Center/Police Building is being constructed at the site and set to open at the beginning of December 2013.

The Lancaster Volunteer Ambulance Corps responds to all requests for EMS in the Town & Village of Lancaster, along with the Village of Depew. Lancaster Ambulance is centrally located at 40 Embry Place within the Village limits but covers the entire area with a fleet of 6 ambulances and 1 fly car. Lancaster Ambulance is a combination staffed EMS agency, which has Career EMT's, AEMT's, & Paramedics on duty 24/7/365 insuring quick responses to all medical calls within the ambulance district. Average yearly call volume is over 4,000 calls and increasing.

Notable people[edit]

Major highways[edit]

  • I-90.svg NYS Thruway Sign.svg Interstate 90 (New York State Thruway), runs East- West through the town, traveling from the Cheetowaga town line in the West, to the Clarence town line in the North. There is an exit to Transit Road (New York State Route 78) in Cheektowaga that also serves Lancaster.
  • US 20.svg U.S. Route 20 (Transit Road, Broadway), North-South roadway that runs concurrently with NY 78 along Lancaster's West border with Cheektowaga, south of Depew. Route 20 then turns East onto Broadway. Route 20 is known as Broadway in the Town and Village of Lancaster
  • NY-78.svg New York State Route 78 (Transit Road), North-South roadway that provides the east border of Cheektowaga with Lancaster, north and south of Depew.
  • NY-33.svg New York State Route 33 (Genesee St.), East-West Route that runs from Transit Road New York State Route 78 to Townline Road where it enters the Town of Alden.
  • New York State Route 952Q (Walden Ave.) An East-West highway through the Village and Town Lancaster. Walden Ave. is the longest non-parkway New York State Reference Route. Walden's reference route number is not signed, but still has reference markers, and is maintained by New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) as other signed routes are. Walden Ave. parallels the New York Central Railroad as it goes throughout the town and village.


Lancaster is also home to Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport, which is located on Walden Avenue on the east side of the town.



  1. ^ a b Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "2011 Lancaster Village Special Events Series :". Lancaster Village, NY. Retrieved 2011-07-11. 
  3. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
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External links[edit]