The Town of Persia was erected from Perrysburg in 1835.  The first records of the Town from its organization in 1835 were destroyed by a fire at Gowanda in 1856. There were other destructive fires in 1875, and 1893.  In 1857 a sudden flood of Thatcher Brook totally destroyed 3 homes and caused considerable damage to others.

The main waterways of the Town, Point Peter Brook, and Thatcher Brook flow to the Towns' northern boundary and empty into Cattaraugus Creek.  The oldest highway in the Town, known as Jamestown Road was located in the western portion of the Town and ran along Thatcher Brook.  Railroad service was provided by the Erie, and the
Buffalo and Southwestern.  The Erie Railroad entered Persia near the southeast corner, running parallel to the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek, then turned sharply northeast, at a point known as Allen's Switch.  The Buffalo and Southwestern Railroad, completed in 1875, ran along Jamestown Road.

The first settlement of the Town, in 1810, was located in the Village area of the Town and known as Hidi.  The first school house was built in 1817.

In 1816, 707 acres on both sides of Cattaraugus Creek were purchased in an area known as Aldrich Mills.  The name was changed in 1826 to Lodi and then in 1848 to Gowanda.

The dense forest brought about the building of sawmills, with lumbering being the main occupation.  Once the forest were exhausted, the economy was devoted to dairy and agricultural interests which caused the establishment of various cheese factories (i .e. Broadway (1867), W. J . Manley's, Jenks & Ross) throughout the

The Gowanda Agricultural, Horticultural, and Mechanical Society, formed in 1855, held annual fairs until 1875, on 20 acres of ground within the limits of the Village.

Manufacturing interests of the Town included sawmills (1st - 1813), grist mills (1st - 1823), a carding factory, and a woolen mill.  Settlements (i.e . hamlet of hamlet of Hidi where the first bridge was built across Cattaraugus Creek in 1816, and the hamlet of Aldrich Mills) sprang up around these mills.  At Hidi, a tannery in 1853 followed by a glue factory in 1874 were erected by the Gaensslen brothers, while the first glue factory was built in 1869 by Charles Kengott.

The Village of Gowanda, Indian word meaning "beautiful place among the hills", (first known as Aldrich Mills, then Lodi) became incorporated as Gowanda in 1848 with a total of 726 acres.  Situated in both Erie and Cattaraugus County, Gowanda was again incorporated in 1878 and its boundaries extended to include the hamlet of Hidi and a total of 665 acres on the Cattaraugus County side and 361 acres on the Erie County side of Cattaraugus Creek.  The Village saw its first settlers in 1816.

The hamlet of Hidi was the scene of a sale leather tannery, a grist mill, a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, wool carding & cloth dressing factory (1820), a school (1818).

During the 1870's - 1890's, the Village of Gowanda contained 20 stores, 6 hotels (i .e. Barker House, Lodi House, Mansion, House, Union House), a tavern, a bank (1873 - J . S . Bartlett & Co.), a post office (1820 as Aldrich Mills, 1822 as Lodi), a newspaper (The Gowanda Leader - 1893), several churches, an opera house, doctors, lawyers, and an academy in 1864 (The Gowanda Union Free School and Academy.  Industries within the area of the Village included Gowanda Preserving Company (1882), Gowanda Printing and Manufacturing Company (1892) and the Gowanda Agricultural Works (1885).  During the 1870's the Village housed about 1,600 residents, 900 being on the Cattaraugus County side.

The first post office was established at Aldrich Mills in 1820, the name was changed to Lodi in 1822, to Persia in 1835, and in 1848 to Gowanda.

Source: Cattaraugus County Book 1808-1995/96 

Be sure to check out the Gowanda Area Historical Museum for more on Persia, NY.

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