The Village of Lancaster was incorporated in 1849 from part of the Town of Lancaster. Lancaster is the third oldest incorporated village in Erie County, behind the Village of Springville, New York, and the Village of Gowanda, New York. The village is proud of its historic past and emphasizes preservation of its historic buildings. Lancaster was formerly known as "Cayuga Creek." The Village of
Lancaster's North boundary is Walden Ave, the eastern edge is Walter Winter Road, the Southern edge of the Village is the Northernly boundary of the former Buffalo Creek Indian Reservation. The Western boundary is a former farm-lot line which is now Brunswick Road. The Village of Lancaster is one of about 30 communities in New York with historic districts.
The oldest house in the village is the Carpenter- Draper House, built in 1831. The Lancaster Presbyterian Church is the second oldest religious structure in Erie County, built in 1832.
Churches in the Village of Lancaster include Lancaster Presbyterian Church, St. John's Lutheran, Trinity Episcopal, and Faith United Methodist. Catholic churches include St. Mary of the Assumption, and Our Lady of Pompeii.
In 1894 The Lancaster Opera House was built. This building is still the main focus of the downtown Lancaster area because of its massive size and its clock tower. Lancaster Town offices are also located in the building. This leads people to call the building both The Opera House and Town Hall.
The Central Ave./ Broadway area is the downtown business area in the village. The former W. Main St. was also at one time another major business street in the downtown area. However, today very few businesses are located on the street due to its demolition in the early 70's. In the near future, West Main will be re-extended all the way to Aurora/N. Aurora/St. Mary's Sts. intersection, as it had before the demolition.
Four Railroads (Erie RR, Lehigh Valley RR, Delaware, Lackawanna and Western RR, and New York Central RR once traversed the village, however only two remain. The fifth railroad in the town, the West Shore RR did not go through the village, but did have a station in Bowmansville, which is a hamlet the northwestern part of the town. Each railroad had a station on Central Ave.
A trolley once went through the village, down Como Park Blvd. from the City of Buffalo, to Lake Ave., to Church St., to East Main St. (now Broadway), to Central Ave., and then finally to Sawyer Ave. The trolly then continued into the connecting Village of Depew, where Sawyer Ave. turned into Main St. as it entered the Village of Depew.
Several fires have caused much damage over the years to the downtown area. The Great Fire of 1894 destroyed much of the west side of Central Ave., and The Grimes-Davis Mansion, which stood at the corner of Broadway and Central Ave. A gas station now occupies the site.
The Village includes part of Como Lake Park, an Erie County Park. The rest of the park lies in the town.
Church Street, a street off Broadway, contains many architecturally significant homes.
Lancaster's first immigrants were Dutch. Then Germans came in the mid-1800s who then founded St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church. Italian immigrants were the last to populate the village area. They then founded Our Lady of Pompeii Catholic Church.
St. John Neumann was a circuit priest in the mid-1800s around the Buffalo suburb area. St. Mary of the Assumption Church (St. Mary's on the Hill) was one of his stops. He celebrated mass there once a month. St. John Neumann played a big part in the building of the church and school.