The village of Depew is a 4.78 square mile municipality located about seven miles east of Buffalo. The village was incorporated in July 23, 1894 and is located partly in the Town of Lancaster to the east and partly in the Town of Cheektowaga to the west with Transit Road the dividing line between the two towns.
Depew was named for Chauncey M. Depew (1834-1928), a Yale graduate, attorney, once Republican Secretary of the State of New York. He served the New York Central Railroad as general Counsel, vice-president, and then president and in 1899 became a U.S. Senator. He was a friend and financial advisor to many prominent businessmen of his time and was well known as an orator and after dinner speaker.
Early village settlers came from England, Poland, Germany, and other Eastern European nations seeking railroad related employment. Early Depew was home to New York Central Locomotive erecting shops, the Gould Coupler Company, and Gould Storage Battery Company, Union Car Co., National Car Wheel Works, American Car and Foundry, and Pullman Company. Many smaller rail related industries flourished in and around the larger foundries and erecting shops.
Residential development continued unabated until the closing of the New York Central facility in 1930.
With the steady decline of the fortunes of the rail related employers, the village sought to diversify the employment base, by exploiting its central Erie County location and proximity to major-east-west highways and the Buffalo Airport, and the Depew Amtrak station. A second residential boom took place in the early 1960’s as the village actively sought to attract new industry and the resulting economic stability.
Depew is currently the home of , a major printing press operation, Harlequin Books of romance novel fame, Leica Microsystems, Elmar Industries, PCB Piezotronics, a precision instrument manufacturer and space program contractor. These and smaller but equally important industrial and technological employers, have helped Depew stem the economic decline so prevalent in the Northeast.
Being one of New York’s largest villages in area and population (17,673), Depew had long prided itself on its self sufficient nature in service to its residents. The village maintains a 35 member police force, six volunteer fire companies, and a 35 employee Department of Public Works. The municipal building houses the assessment, treasurer, clerk, water department, code enforcement, and village justice offices.
Residents enjoy an enclosed ice rink and Olympic sized swimming pool, along with lighted tennis courts, baseball and soccer facilities at the village owned Fireman’s Park.
Chauncey Depew could not have imagined upon his death that his dream community would become a reality. He envisioned a community with ample and nearby employment, and cozy residential areas with recreational opportunities and a sense of “home.” We believe his goals were achieved. Our community, the “village of unexcelled opportunity” has continued to grow and prosper.