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Salamanca (city), New York facts for kids

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Seneca Allegany Casino along State Route 417 (August 2020)
Seneca Allegany Casino along State Route 417 (August 2020)
Salamanca is located in New York
Location in New York
Country United States
State New York
County Cattaraugus
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Total 6.24 sq mi (16.15 km2)
 • Land 5.99 sq mi (15.52 km2)
 • Water 0.24 sq mi (0.63 km2)
1,381 ft (421 m)
 • Total 5,929
 • Density 950.2/sq mi (367.12/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 716
FIPS code 36-009-64749
GNIS feature ID 0964291

Salamanca (Seneca: Onë:dagö:h) is a city in Cattaraugus County, New York, United States, inside the Allegany Indian Reservation, one of two governed by the Seneca Nation of New York. The population was 5,929 at the 2020 census. It was named after José de Salamanca, a Spanish nobleman and cabinet minister of the mid-19th century.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.24 square miles (16.15 km2), of which 5.99 square miles (15.52 km2) is land and 0.24 square miles (0.63 km2), or 3.88%, is water.

Salamanca is located within the Allegany Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation of New York (one of the six tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy). The city population of about 5,800 is about 17% Native American; this does not include Seneca people living in the adjacent hamlets of Jimerson Town (one of the two capitals of the nation) and Kill Buck. The city lies along the Allegany River and is adjacent to Allegany State Park.

The Southern Tier Expressway (Interstate 86 and New York State Route 17) pass south of the city, as do U.S. Route 219 and New York State Route 417.

Salamanca serves as a hub for public bus service in the area. Coach USA, Fullington Trailways, the Seneca Transit System, and the Olean Area Transit System all converge on the city.


Climate data for Salamanca, New York
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 30
Average low °F (°C) 14
Record low °F (°C) −25
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.08
Source: The Weather Channel


What is now known as the city of Salamanca was originally two separate communities, one on Little Valley Creek and the other on Great Valley Creek; the westernmost one of the two was called "Hemlock", a name derived from the numerous hemlock trees throughout the surrounding mountains. Hemlock was later renamed "West Salamanca" and (although it was marked on road signs as late as the 1990s) was eventually incorporated into the single city of Salamanca. The city was incorporated in 1913.

Salamanca BRP station
Salamanca station for the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh, now the Rail Museum

At one time the city was a thriving railroad hub, with the Erie Railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio (later Conrail), and the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway all having facilities there. Generations of Salamanca residents worked for the railroads, and much of the housing was originally built for them by the railroads. The city also benefited from the then-thriving lumber industry that dominated much of southwestern Cattaraugus County at the turn of the century, as boomtowns along the Allegheny River such as Elko, South Valley and Red House (all much less populated ghost towns today) all used the railroads to ship their goods upstream. At the time of the city's incorporation, it peaked at just under 10,000 residents, not far behind that of Olean, the major hub of the county; Olean, however, would continue to grow rapidly into the 1950s, while Salamanca's population would begin falling behind almost immediately. The Salamanca Rail Museum was opened in the former BR&P depot in 1984 to house the archives.

The majority of the city, with the exception of a northeastern spur along Great Valley Creek, was constructed on the Allegany Indian Reservation held by the Seneca Nation of New York, as established in various treaties. Under the nation's policy, non-Seneca residents are barred from owning real property on the reservation, and non-Senecas can only lease the property from the Seneca Nation. As arranged by the railroads, the previous leases had nominal payments and covered only the land; improvements (i.e., buildings and houses) were considered to be owned by the non-native citizens.

When the leases expired in the early 1990s, the nation tried to gain more from its leases, raising their costs and asserting that not only the land, but the improvements were also subject to the native leases. Numerous people living in the city did not agree on the amount of lease payments or the legitimacy of the Senecas' absolute ownership claim. The controversy aroused bitterness, lawsuits, and appeals to government officials. Congress passed a law explicitly placing the improvements under Seneca jurisdiction, the new leases were put into effect, and fifteen houses were seized and their owners evicted for refusing to sign the leases. The current leases are in effect until 2030, with an option to extend until 2070; proceeds from the lease payments are distributed quarterly to enrolled Seneca Nation members, providing a basic income guarantee.

Despite the lack of ownership, leased land held by non-Senecas is subject to property tax, which the lessee must pay to the city, Cattaraugus County, and the Salamanca City Central School District. Seneca-owned land is exempt under the Treaty of Buffalo Creek. Once a Seneca acquires the land, it is taken off the tax rolls; for this reason, the city of Salamanca does not auction off abandoned properties on the reservation in a property tax auction, for fear that Seneca individuals will buy the land, removing it from the tax rolls.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 2,531
1890 3,692 45.9%
1900 4,251 15.1%
1910 5,792 36.3%
1920 9,276 60.2%
1930 9,577 3.2%
1940 9,011 −5.9%
1950 8,861 −1.7%
1960 8,480 −4.3%
1970 7,877 −7.1%
1980 6,890 −12.5%
1990 6,566 −4.7%
2000 6,097 −7.1%
2010 5,815 −4.6%
2020 5,929 2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census 2020

As of the 2020 United States census, Salamanca had a population of 5,929. The ethnic and racial makeup of the population was 69.3% White, 2.6% African-American, 18.6% Native American, 0.7% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.7% reporting two or more races, and 6.7% Hispanic or Latino of any race. 66.3% of the population was non-Hispanic white.

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,097 people, 2,469 households, and 1,575 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,015.6 people per square mile (392.3/km2). There were 2,749 housing units at an average density of 457.9 per square mile (176.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.26% White, 0.66% Black or African American, 20.74% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 1.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.82% of the population.

There were 2,469 households, out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.2% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.0% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,579, and the median income for a family was $30,996. Males had a median income of $25,549 versus $19,180 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,812. About 18.0% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.7% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.


Retail shops include several Seneca-owned cigarette, tobacco, coffee shops, and gas stations; there are several empty storefronts, especially in the city's central business district on and near Main Street. The Seneca Nation has made efforts to diversify, establishing a tribal holding company in 2009 and an economic development corporation in 2011.

Among the national chains that operate franchises in Salamanca are McDonald's, Burger King, Little Caesars, Tim Hortons, Subway, and AutoZone on the west side; and Rite-Aid (owned by Carl Paladino's Ellicott Development Co.), Save-a-Lot and Family Dollar in the center of the city. Save-a-Lot competes with Parkview Supermarket, which is owned by Erie County, Pennsylvania-based Sander's Markets. Family Dollar is in the city's only shopping mall, Salamanca Mall, in which the regional Worth W. Smith Hardware chain, a local antique shop, and a small taqueria also operate.

Three hotels operate in the city, the Seneca Allegany Casino hotel, Myers Steakhouse and Inn, and the White Pine Lodge, the latter of which took over the departing Holiday Inn Express in 2021. Two other hotels, the Westgate and the Dudley, are vacant.

Regional banks Five Star Bank, Community Bank, N.A. and Cattaraugus County Bank all have branches in Salamanca, as does the CCSE Federal Credit Union.

A number of industrial factories, among them McHone Industries (a metal fabricating company) and Salamanca Lumber, operate in the center part of the city.



The Southern Tier Expressway (Interstate 86 and New York State Route 17) passes south of the city. Running through the city are U.S. Route 219 and New York State Routes 417 and 353, the last two of which terminate within a mile of each other on Salamanca's west end.

Salamanca serves as a hub for the area's public bus service. Coach USA, Fullington Trailways, the Seneca Transit System, and the Olean Area Transit System all converge on the city. The city's only active (freight) rail depot is on the east side of the city, serviced by the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad.

In the past, the Erie Railroad and then, starting in 1960, the Erie Lackawanna Railway had operated passenger trains through Salamanca. Into the 1960s, the Erie Limited and the Atlantic Express/Pacific Express made stops there. The last passenger train making stops there was the Lake Cities which was discontinued on January 6, 1970. The New York and Lake Erie Railroad operated between Salamanca and Gowanda until 1990. Today, the station houses the Salamanca Rail Museum. Two miles to the east, the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway had an "East Salamanca" station. The successor railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad last had passenger trains at the latter in the mid-1950s. Into the early 1940s, the Pennsylvania Railroad ran passenger trains into a third station for trains between Olean and Oil City, Pennsylvania.


Salamanca has no local major airports. Although Great Valley Airport is nearby, this airport is mostly used for delivery. The nearest public airport is Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Notable people

  • George Abbott (1887-1995), theater producer
  • Ray Caldwell (1888-1967), former MLB spitball pitcher
  • Gordon Canfield (1898-1972), member of the House of Representatives for New Jersey's 8th congressional district
  • Chuck Crist (1961-2020), former National Football League safety; he returned to his hometown to serve as a principal in the city schools
  • Robert DeLaurentis (1966-), an American aviator, the first solo pilot to fly a Piper Malibu Mirage, a small, single-engine plane, around the world
  • Ray Evans (1915–2007), musician/songwriter; composed the Christmas song "Silver Bells". The Ray Evans Seneca Theater is named in his honor; it was closed in 2011 due to disrepair and would not reopen until 2013.
  • Albert T. "Ab" Fancher (1859-1930), New York state senator in the late 19th/early 20th century; co-owner (with E.B. Vreeland of the Seneca Oil Company, a subsidiary of Standard Oil Company); donated much of the land to New York that now comprises Allegany State Park, the largest state park in New York; developed the Fancher farm, on the western side of Salamanca, which boasts one of the largest barns in New York.
  • Ira Joe Fisher (1947-), daytime television personality and weather reporter; born and worked in Salamanca, he spent most of his childhood in neighboring Little Valley.
  • Marvin Hubbard (1945-2015), former pro football player; born in Salamanca, he spent most of his childhood in nearby Red House
  • Paul Owens (1924-2003) player, scout, coach and general manager with the Philadelphia Phillies in the late 20th century. Raised in Salamanca's East End; graduated from local schools and St. Bonaventure University, and began his baseball career with the still-extant Salamanca Merchants amateur team.
  • Edward B. Vreeland (1856-1936), banker, congressman, co-author of the "Aldrich-Vreeland Bill" that transformed the United States Banking system in the early 20th century. Senator Aldrich represented Rhode Island and was the maternal grandfather of Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, governor of New York in the 1960s.
  • Carson Waterman, Seneca Indian artist known for public art and illustrations in the Allegany Seneca Storybook and Seneca Coloring Book.
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