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History. Culture. Fun!

Salamanca, NY has it all!

Known as the “Gateway to Allegany State Park,” the city of Salamanca is located on the reservation of the Seneca Nation of Indians, the largest tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations. Salamanca is the only city in the United States to lie almost entirely on a Native American Reservation; however, Salamanca’s rich history encompasses so much more than this geographic distinction. This winter, visitors are encouraged to take a cultural journey through Salamanca, where the history of the Seneca Nation, the legacy of Salamanca’s railroad system, and the city’s celebration of one of the most iconic songwriters of the 20th century can be explored and enjoyed by every member of the family.



Steeped in the tradition of the Seneca Nation, Salamanca celebrates its heritage through the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, where visitors can learn about the “Keepers of the Western Door.” The museum, which is located just off I-86 at 814 Broad Street, has a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits open to the public. Visitors can begin their visit in the Longhouse Room, a permanent exhibit that shows visitors a partially reconstructed longhouse much like the ones that the Seneca people would have lived in during the 17th and 18th centuries. The museum then guides visitors to the Log Cabin Room, another permanent exhibit that shares the Senecas’ transition from the longhouse to log cabins like the ones occupied by colonial settlers and British soldiers.

One of the most moving exhibits in the museum, the permanent exhibit, “This is Where We Walked,” shares the United States’ infamous intrusion and destruction of Seneca communities with the construction of the Kinzua Dam in the 1960s. Visitors should be sure to explore the newest exhibit, which will be on display through December, the “We Play Lacrosse” exhibit located in the East Gallery. Did you know that lacrosse originated from a tribal game played by Native Americans throughout the northeast and Canada? Lacrosse is still a very popular sport in the city of Salamanca, as the Salamanca Warriors have enjoyed top rankings in regional playoffs for many years. Explore the history of this unique sport and its legacy in Salamanca through this interesting exhibit, which also features inductees into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Seneca-Iroquois National Museum’s fall/winter hours are 9am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday; the museum is closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 7 and up, and $3 for seniors and college students. Children ages 6 and under are admitted free. Entrance to the museum’s gift shop is always free - be sure to check out their beautiful array of gifts including genuine turquoise jewelry, hand-cut wooden ornaments, beaded purses and more. For more information on the museum, call 716-945-1760, visit www.SenecaMuseum.org, or find the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum on Facebook.



Salamanca’s location near the Allegheny National Forest has made it one of the biggest sources of hardwood in Western New York, especially throughout the 20th century. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a large system of railroads was constructed in order to transport these large quantities of lumber nationwide; at one point, Salamanca was known as a “railroad city.” Traces of this industrial past still remain in Salamanca, especially at the Salamanca Rail Museum, located at 170 North Main Street.

The museum, which is run entirely by local volunteers, is free to the public and stands as a beautiful reminder of a bygone era. The museum itself is a fully restored depot constructed in 1912 by the Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railway. According to volunteer Stan Carlson, the museum is a train-lover’s dream come true, as it contains three model train layouts, which train enthusiasts work on year ‘round. Carlson encourages visitors to explore the many artifacts and photographs from Salamanca’s railways and those throughout Western New York. In addition to the exhibits inside, the museum has outdoor exhibits with actual cabooses and boxcars for visitors to explore.

The Salamanca Rail Museum is open seasonally from April 1 through Dec. 31, and is closed from January through March. The museum’s hours are Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday from noon-5pm.  Carlson encourages visitors to visit the museum’s gift shop, which includes reprinted postcards of the depot from the early 1900s, as well as a variety of train gifts and memorabilia. For more information, contact the museum at 716-945-3133 or visit Salamanca Rail Museum on Facebook.



In addition to Salamanca’s great museums, the city hosts special events year ‘round that celebrate Salamanca’s culture and heritage. The Seneca Salamanca Chamber of Commerce, led by director John Sheehan, works to build tourism and support economic revitalization by focusing on what makes Salamanca unique.

One of the chamber’s biggest annual events is Silver Bells in the City, which is held each year in honor of Ray Evans, the award-winning lyricist of the iconic Christmas song, “Silver Bells.” Evans was born in Salamanca in 1915, and went on to pursue a successful song-writing career with composer and songwriter Jay Livingston. The duo was known for writing television themes, like the theme for Mr. Ed, as well as songs for movies in the 1940s and 1950s. Evans and Livingston won three Academy Awards for their movie tunes, most notably “Que Sera Sera,” sung by Doris Day, for the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Evans’ “Silver Bells,” originally written for a 1951 Bob Hope film, is most remembered in Salamanca and is the theme of the city’s Christmas festivities in December. On Saturdays during the month, visitors can look forward to free Christmas-themed movies screened at the Ray Evans Seneca Theater located at 10 Main Street. The Ray Evans Seneca Theater, which was built during World War II and originally called “The Seneca,” is dedicated to promoting the arts in Salamanca, and stands as a tribute to the legacy of Evans. Visitors can still enjoy its sparkling marquee, which lends an air of authenticity and nostalgia to the movie-going experience.

At the beginning of December, the season kicks off with Salamanca’s Annual Light Up the Night event at Jefferson Park. There, the Christmas tree is lit for the season and carolers fill the night with music. Little ones can meet Santa at the park and catch up with him later in the month on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Meyers Steakhouse & Inn. Throughout the month, Christmas Craft Shows will take place at the Allegany Community Center; this is a great time to shop for unique gifts! For more information about the Silver Bells Festival, visit www.SalamancaChamber.org and find Seneca Salamanca Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.



When you're ready to let loose and have some extra fun, head over to Seneca Gaming & Entertainment at 768 Broad Street for a full day or night of bingo, video gaming, and poker! The gaming room features over 340 video gaming machines where guests can bet credits worth a penny or up to $10.  Their most popular games include Cadillac Jack, Multimedia, and Bally’s, and the facility now features a brand new non-smoking game room.

Welcoming guests ages 18 and over, Seneca Gaming & Entertainment offers some of the biggest daily bingo payouts in Western New York - visitors can even plan a bingo hall birthday party any day of the week. Visitors will discover specials throughout the month of December for bingo, poker, and video gaming.

Play bingo on Saturday, Dec. 19 for a chance to win the “Pay Off Your Layaway Special” - a projected $10,000 must go Jackpot! Return the next day for the Winter Sleigh Ride Special, which features double payouts on all regular games. Make sure to include Seneca Gaming & Entertainment in your New Year’s Eve plans because you won’t want to miss the 2nd Annual “A Night Out for New Year’s Eve” special on Dec. 31. During this exciting night, bingo starts at 7pm with Level 3 paying out $3,000 per regular game and a $10,000 Jackpot! Poker players will enjoy the New Year’s Eve Couples Tournament, when cards fly at 6pm and a dessert buffet is served at 8pm. Video Gaming is just as exciting on New Year’s Eve, when Hot Seat drawings to play Plynko for cash will take place from noon-5pm.

Throughout the winter months, enjoy Bingo After Dark (every Friday and Saturday), and take advantage of Early Bird Specials every Monday. Visit Seneca Gaming & Entertainment on the web at www.senecagames.com to view their complete schedule and to find out how you can participate in daily events. Seneca Gaming & Entertainment is open daily; game room hours start at 9:30am and close at 1am on weekdays and 2am on Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.senecagames.com or call 1-877-860-5130.

From the beautiful landscape of the Allegheny Mountains and the Allegheny River to the city’s exciting gaming facilities, there is no lack of education, entertainment, and enjoyment in Salamanca. A unique cultural experience is sure to await you; now all that’s left to do is plan your visit!