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Olean is located in Cattaraugus County 54 miles east of Jamestown between Allegany and Westons Mills near the Pennsylvania state line along Highway 16 on the banks of the Allegheny River near St Bonaventure University in the Western Region of the state.

The city was named after Olean Shephard, first white child born here. It was developed with the movement west; people leaving New England and eastern New York traveled the river. Until completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, thousands of immigrants traveled from Olean by ark, flatboat, skiff and raft.

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