Transcribed from the Wellsville Daily Reporter by Crist Middaugh.

Passing through…Oramel

By Becky Sutton
Staff Writer

Caneadea - A gas station, restaurant and motel, and garbage are the only businesses in the hamlet of Oramel, which in its earlier years was expected to be a thriving metropolis.

Much of the remnants of Oramel’s industrial past were lost in a fire that swept through the township in the late 1930s.

 Oramel NY

Oramel is located on State Route 19 between the towns of Belfast and Caneadea. The hamlet is considered to be part of the Town of Caneadea, along with Houghton.

In 1812, the first white settlers made their homes in Oramel. It was eventually named after a resident, Oracle Griffin, according to Caneadea Town Historian Larry Wilson.

In its early days, growth of the area was slow, Wilson said, “but the changed with the completion of the Genesee Valley Canal in 1851.

It was thought back then that Oramel would be one of the largest towns in Allegany County.”

Wilson said Oramel developed into a bustling township “Like magic,” with dozens of private dwellings, three churches, numerous stores, taverns, warehouses, a school, and a post office.

Oramel also was the home of a weekly distributed newspaper, The Republican, Wilson added.

“The surrounding hillsides, rich in timber, gave rise to several sawmills which provided Oramel’s main export - lumber. Oramel was known as the best market in Northern Allegany County.”

But the extension of the canal was a downfall for Oramel industry. “When the Genesee Canal extended on into Olean, Oramel began to lose its importance.”

Wilson said a disastrous fire in the late 1930s destroyed much of the hamlet, and today little remains to suggest the glory of Oramel’s past.

“Today, aside from neat little homes, one notes the popular Wheel-In Motel and Restaurant, a handsome new fire hall with a complement of active volunteers, the stately white Methodist church, a busy auto repair show, and a well-kept, iron-fenced cemetery while passing through Oramel,” Wilson said.

“Currently, the biggest thing in Oramel is its fire department. For a small area, they are very fortunate to have such an active group of volunteers.