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The race track was located on the North Shore of Cuba Lake and the first race took place on August 1, 1954.  People came from all over to see the drivers test their skills on the quarter mile track.

Racing came to an end during the 1958 season when a car hit a heavy plank that separated the track from the spectators’ seats. The plank flew thru the air 35 to 40 feet, almost clearing the top row of bleachers. The plank struck six spectators, injuring several of them seriously.  The race was cancelled and the Cuba Lake Raceway never operated again.




Orra D. Kinney, born in 1827, came to Allegany County in 1848. He married Susan N. Jordan in 1850. He was the owner of the Kinney House in West Clarksville.  He moved to Cuba about 1880, bought the Western House and changed its name to Kinney Hotel. It was located on the corner of Orchard St. and West Main St.

Orra died in 1886 and his son Arthur operated the hotel for 25 years.  Arthur Kinney died in 1911 and the hotel was sold to William Morris.  Since 1930 the hotel has changed ownership several times.  Michael Magnano purchased the building and it was razed to provide space for Village Motors of Allegany Co., Inc.


The building was constructed in 1867 located in the center of the Village of Cuba, NY.  It was a three story, three bay wide, brick Italianate building.  The Palmer Block may be referred to as the Keller Opera House. The name stems from the fact that Mr. Palmer, who originally built the building, later lost it in a poker game to Mr. Keller.  It formerly housed three store bays on the street level and an opera house on the second floor. Events were held there until the late 1930’s.

The original Palmer House was destroyed by fire on December 20, 1871. Mr. Palmer then planned to create one of the largest and best opera houses in Western New York, which he did. The main floor was divided into three units each retaining wooden ceilings and floors. The Palmer Opera House was located on the second floor and the ceiling extended to the roof level with no third floor.

The Palmer Block was severely damaged by interior decline, exposure to the elements,  and neglect starting in 2001. The Cuba Friends of Architecture (CFA) saved the building from destruction by restoring the collapsed section of the roof in December of 2005. The building now has been completely restored by the CFA with the many grants that they received.

This fine building is now the site for many public activities including silent movies, musical shows, etc.

CUBA FLOOD OF May 19, 1916

The flood hit Cuba on Tuesday afternoon between four and six o’clock and did damage estimated at $200,000 to the property of individuals, the village and the town and two railroads.

By about 4 o’clock the ditches of streets and roads were unable to carry the flow of water and it began going over the highways.  In a little while all of Cuba was turned into one great lake.

Griffin creek went over its bank. The side of the millrace of Phelps and Sibley’s upper mill went out. It also washed out the big stone culvert of the Erie railroad at the head of Orchard Street.

The water rose to a depth of two feet on West Main Street and about twice that on East Main Street. Just about every business and home on Main Street suffered from the flood. Practically every wooden bridge in the town was torn our as well as some of the iron and cement bridges. In some places the road was entirely eliminated.





The Depot was located on Sibley Street, Cuba, NY behind which used to be Rinker’s gas station on Rt. 305 and is now Arrowmart.  The 130 year old depot no longer being used was set to be demolished.   Arrangements were made with the Amish to dismantle, mark it and move it to storage  until it could be rebuilt.

It took two days to take apart the roof and walls of the Victorian-style depot which was built in the 1880’s and was used by the railroad until it closed in the 1950’s. Since then the building was used for storage.

The depot was reconstructed on the property owned by Bonnie Blair owner of the Block Barn at Empire City Farms.  The station has become a feature of the Cuba Garlic Festival which is held every year in September.


The Seneca Oil Spring


The spring is located near the spillway end of Cuba Lake on the Oil Springs Reservation, Allegany County, New York. This is the site of the famed spring described by the Franciscan Missionary Joseph de La Roche Daillon in 1627, the first recorded mention of oil on the North American Continent. In 1927, the New York State Oil Producers Association sponsored the dedication of a monument at the site describing the history of the oil industry in North America. The site is now under the supervision of the County of Allegany and a picnic area is available for those visiting there.







The J. Fenton Olive’s Pavilion opened to the public on July 4, 1915 with a gala dance. Music was furnished by Fitzgerald’s Orchestra from Olean, NY. The Pavilion was located on North Shore Road of Cuba Lake, Cuba, NY.


There were numerous attractions such as swimming,  picnicking, dancing, speed boat riding, merry-go-round (now located at Albany after renovation), soda fountain, baseball and later on roller skating.  The soda fountain was at the east end of the building with the kitchen behind it.   On the lake side was the screened-in porch running the entire length of the building. The band was located on the west end.


The owner, known as “Bog”, had four cottages built on the north side of the North Lake RD, a bit east of the Pavilion. He rented these out to the public.


On July 1, 1944 J. Fenton, “Bog” Olive passed away, exactly 29 years ago to the day after the Pavilion opened.






Submitted by William A. Greene  2007


Old Burial Plot Uncovered by Road Builders

Some 100 Years in Ground


         The town of Cuba and county of Allegany are this spring extending the macadam road around Cuba Lake, form the Warner farm to the Cuba – Ischua town line.  In the old road bed, there was a small curve and the state engineers in surveying for the new road, decided to straighten this curve and thus give the traveler on the road a straight ahead view and the maps and plans for the road were made with this in mind.

         Within the past week workmen started the construction of the new road, under the supervision of E. P. Barnes of Elmira, and the work progressed rapidly until they reached the curve, which was to be straightened.  To the passerby the road at this spot had always been considered nothing more or less that a briar patch and now at last seemed to come a solution to clear this all away. When it was discovered that this particular spot was not merely a briar patch but was an old community cemetery.  Of course the road could not go thru the cemetery and the county workmen could not remove the bodies there interred. The county superintendent of highways, Mr. Barnes, in charge of the work, and the Cuba superintendent of highways, immediately took steps to have the bodies, or what might be left of them removed.

         After clearing away the brush and briars, the graves were found.  These graves were sunken with time and the graves were marked with piles of fieldstones.  Only one lettered slab or stone was found and that marked the grave of Silas Clark, a child two years of age and the date of his burial was marked as 1822, 104 years ago.

         In the excavation of this cemetery nothing has been found except the bones, and no complete skeleton.  One skull, which was taken from the cemetery, was that of a lady with gray hair, the hair was braided and held in place with a comb; the comb and hair had not deteriorated with the passage of time.

         It is believed that some six or seven bodies were buried here, as nearly as can be ascertained from the bones taken, and it is now believed by J. C. Holden, town superintendent of highways that all are removed.  At the present time these bones are in the vault o the Cube cemetery and will within a few days be buried.           

         Diligent efforts have been made to locate anyone who may have relatives buried here so that upon proper proof they may claim them, if they so desire. Up to the present time no one has claimed any of them.

         The last record that can be found of anyone having been buried here was made more than seventy – five years ago.


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