Share this article

print logo

TOWN TO GET NAME BACK ON OFFICIAL MAPS

Anyone searching future Geological Survey maps will find Lyndon where Elgin once appeared.

The Geological Survey chose Elgin for its maps around the time the name was applied to the town on April 7, 1857. About a year later, on April 16, 1858, town fathers officially changed the name back to Lyndon, but on maps, Elgin stuck around until now.

Lyndon, located east of Franklinville and west of Cuba Lake, became a township in 1829 and has about 660 residents.

The town has no village, gas station or business district, but most of its residents know each other or have become acquainted at local events, such as the town's annual community dinner at the Fire Hall, the fall Chicken Barbecue or the Ham & Turkey Raffle fund-raisers.

Today nobody knows why the town originally had been named Lyndon or why leaders changed the name to Elgin for just one year.

"Lyndon has always suffered from an identity problem, although more than a few would like to keep it that way," said Town Historian Sid Emmons. He also serves as a councilman and a member of the town's 175th Anniversary Committee, which orchestrated a yearlong celebration of the town's founding.

A Maine native, Emmons moved to the area in 1980 and bought a hilltop home on a dirt road. He thought he lived in Cuba. But after 146 years in obscurity, residents have tired of trying to tell far-flung friends and family how to find their town and want Lyndon's name to appear on all official maps.

The 175th Anniversary Committee circulated a name change petition at a community dinner, the July Fourth picnic and the pie and ice cream social at the North Center Road schoolhouse. By August, it had collected 69 signatures.

Emmons quickly sent these to the Geological Survey's board on geographic names, with a letter explaining that the crossroads area near the highway barn, firehouse and offices is marked as "Elgin" on maps, but locally everyone knows the area and the town as Lyndon.

In September, the agency replied that it would correct its maps. But the Cattaraugus County Legislature, which has recognized Lyndon for decades on its own maps, still will consider a resolution supporting the town's request to the Geological Survey.

The County Operations and Finance Committees is scheduled to review the legislation Wednesday, and the full Legislature could adopt it at its session the following Monday.

The focus on history and the town's beginnings have paid off in Lyndon. The town hall is being spruced up, and new signs on the paved main entrances welcome visitors with this cheerful greeting: "Lyndon, New York -- Rainbow Skies, Fields & Streams."

There are no comments - be the first to comment