Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Middle Atlantic States New York Olean

Olean, New York

Olean was incorporated as a village in 1854 and as a city in 1893.

The first water works were built by R.M. and James O. Whitney that pumped water from Olean creek to a number of fire hydrants. 

The village built new water works in 1883 and built a filtration plant in 1918.

Water is provided by the City of Olean.

1882 Olean, from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D. 

1884 "Olean," from Engineering News 11:205 (April 26, 1884)

1888 "Olean," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Olean," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 "Olean," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1893 Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus County, N.Y., edited by William Adams
Page 877:  Town and City of Olean.
Some years prior to 1882 Whitney Brothers (R. M. and James O.) put in a small system of water works, pumping the water from Olean creek directly into the mains, which were small and short: A few hydrants were placed in position, but so limited was the supply of water these proved almost useless in case of fire. In 1882 the citizens decided upon municipal ownership of the proposed system, which was organized and placed in operation that year and the next. In 1882 the village was bonded for $75,000 for this purpose. A Board of Water Commissioners was created, the first members being William M. Irish, A. H. Abbey, and H. W. Moore. The water is pumped from a series of eight wells into a reservoir 252 feet above and on the south side of the river, and thence distributed throughout the nearly thirteen miles of mains. Connected with these are ninety-eight hydrants. The reservoir has a storage capacity of 2,500,000 gallons. The present Water Board consists of F. L. Stedman, H. D. Bennie, and J. B. Smith. The first superintendent and general manager appointed was L. E. Chapin, who was succeeded in 1885 by the present incumbent, John Z. Le Fevre.

1897 "Olean," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1910 The People of the State of New York ex rel. John A. Johnson et al., composing the Board of Park Commissioners of the City of Olean, Respondents, v. David E. Barrow et al., composing the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Olean, Appellants, 204 N.Y. 664, 140 App. Div. 24; 124 Supp. 270, July 12, 1910

1917 Application of the City of Olean for approval of its acquisition of a source of water supply and construction of a water supply system. Approved August 30, 1917.

1942 "Review of the Olean Flood in Relation to the Mutual Aid and Civilian Protection Programs," by Alan D. Drake and Frank O'B. Nehin, Journal of the American Water Works Association 34(12):1743-1754 (December, 1942)

2018 Morris A. Pierce