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The Town of Lancaster is located in Erie County, in Western New York State, about eleven miles east of downtown Buffalo. The town measures slightly more than six miles north/south and six miles east/west for an area of 37 square miles. About 40,000 inhabitants call the town home. Lancaster is part of the 26th U.S. Congressional District, the 59th New York State Senate District, the 143rd New York State Assembly and the 5th and 8th Erie County Legislative Districts. A five member Town Board administers the town, presided over by the Town Supervisor.
Lancaster is drained by seven streams flowing from east to west. The watersheds are from north to south: Ellicott Creek; Scajaquada Creek; Spring Creek; Plumb Bottom Creek; Cayuga Creek: Little Buffalo Creek; and various branches of Slate Bottom Creek. Ellicott and Cayuga Creeks carry the greatest volume as they originate in the hills of Genesee and Wyoming counties.
The area was first inhabited by nomadic hunters who followed wooly mammoths and other large animals along the fringes of melting glaciers about 10,000 years ago. Evidence of later camps and tool working sites have been found near both Cayuga and Ellicott Creeks. The area was later occupied by the Seneca Nation of Indians. One of the five original nations of the Iroquois, the Senecas tilled the soil, raised corn and other vegetables, and tended to fruit orchards. A log cabin, still standing about 600 feet southwest of the intersection of Wehrle Drive and Harris Hill Road, was built by the Indians about the time of the Revolutionary War.
After the first white settlers came in 1804, the Town of Lancaster was established by state legislature on March 20, 1833. In 1849, residents petitioned the state legislature to create the Village of Lancaster and in 1850, Roman Catholics erected a church of locally made brick on St. Mary's Hill. In 1854, the Town of Elma was formed and in 1894, the Village of Depew was incorporated, thus reducing the Town of Lancaster to its current boundaries.
Today, the town and its two villages, Lancaster and Depew, are among the safest communities in the nation. They provide a wide range of housing choices, social and cultural opportunities, with extensive services for the youth and elderly. Residents are employed in a diverse economy.
Unemployment in Lancaster is among the lowest in the Buffalo Metropolitan area, reflecting both the strength of local companies, and the access to a growing diversity of employers within easy traveling distance.
History provided by Stanley J. Keysa, Esq.