Early Proposed Town Plan of the City of Irving, New York. No Other Examples Traced.
Interesting plan of the "town of Acasto," New York, on the south side of Cattaraugus Creek and the shores of Lake Erie. The stretch of land this map shows is now known as Irving.
Acasto as a place name seems to have lasted only for a brief moment in time. The only note we could find for Acasto was the announcement in the Long Island Star (May 24, 1827) that it was one of the new post offices opened in New York State. It seems to have lasted from 1826 to 1836 and postdated a community first called "Cattaraugus," named after a nearby creek. Part of the community was also called "La Grange" before it was all agglomerated into Irving.
The town is located in the Hanover Township, which was originally part of a large purchase conducted by the Holland Land Company. The township was first settled by Amos Sottle, who in 1798 and 1799 assisted in surveying that part of the Holland Purchase, being entered on the books of the surveying company as "Amos Sawtel axeman." He would build a small log house for the entertainment of travelers and operated a ferry across the creek.
At the time, the Cattaraugus settlement was at or near the mouth of the creek and was known as Cattaraugus, and the harbor made there by the government was called Cattaraugus Harbor, but the first post office there was called "Acasto." It appears to have kept this name until the formation of the Irving Company in 1836, about the time of the publication of this map.
The town layout suggested in this map was not to be, and the road plan was built in an alternate manner. This suggests that the map was produced by land speculators, and possibly by the Irving Company itself. The Irving Company wanted to situate the western terminus of the New York and Erie railroad at the location, which would have led to a large population boom. As part of this, a large surveying effort was undertaken, but Dunkirk was instead chosen, and the plan fell apart. Another plan to bring water-driven power to the site similarly collapsed, and little was made of this city.
On the far side of Cattaraugus Creek, across from the planned town of Acosta, the map denotes an "Indian Reservation." This is the Cattaraugus Reservation. One of the two populated reservations of the Seneca Nation of Indians, the reservation was established in 1797 and updated in later treaties dating to 1802 and 1842.
The government of the Seneca Nation of Indians would be established several years following the publication of this map, in an 1848 Constitutional Convention joining the Allegany and Cattaraugus territories. In recent years, the territory has been of interest in possible fraudulent elections as well as the establishment of indigenous sovereignty over the land.
The map is described in the book by Obed Edson History of Chautauqua County, New York, however, no references are made in OCLC. One mention appears in a 1966 record of acquisition published by the State Department of Archives and History in North Carolina.