The Oldest Historic Town in Every State

The Oldest Historic Town in Every State

This year the United States celebrated its 247th birthday – but many of its oldest continuously occupied settlements far predate the founding of the country. 

A few of the oldest towns around America have continued to grow over the years and are now big cities. Some, like Albany, New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico, while far from their state’s most populous metropolises, remain important as state capitals. Others, like Bath, North Carolina, and Kittery, Maine are quaint towns with a lot to offer visitors looking for history, architecture, and urban design from an earlier era. 

Most of the oldest cities on this list are in the Northeast and were founded by English and Dutch settlers. However, the oldest is Saint Augustine, Florida – established in 1565 by the Spanish. Santa Fe, New Mexico, also founded by the Spanish, dates from 1607, tying it for second-oldest with Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English colony in what would become the United States. (Of course, because we are a comparatively young country, no city in America is included among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.)

In assembling our list of each state’s oldest town, 24/7 Tempo drew on numerous sources, including Britannica, ThoughtCo, Smithsonian Magazine, Oldest, Only in Your State, World Atlas, Travel Channel, and Insider, and verified founding dates and other historical data through official city and state websites. (As for the states themselves, this is how your state was founded.)

We included only towns, cities, and census-designated places, and listed only those which have existed continuously as residential and business communities since they were first established. We did not include Native American settlements, most of which, of course, are much older than those founded by Europeans.

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

Mobile, AL
> Founded: 1702

Source: filo / E+ via Getty Images

Sitka, AK
> Founded: 1799

Source: dszc / E+ via Getty Images

Tucson, AZ
> Founded: 1775

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Batesville, AR
> Founded: 1810

Source: Dreamframer / iStock via Getty Images

San Diego and Santa Cruz, CA
> Founded: 1769

Source: denverjeffrey / Flickr

San Luis, CO
> Founded: 1851

Source: jjbers / Flickr

Windsor, CT
> Founded: 1633

Source: Dana Dagle Photography / iStock via Getty Images

Lewes, DE
> Founded: 1631

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Saint Augustine, FL
> Founded: 1565

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Savannah, GA
> Founded: 1733

Source: sorincolac / iStock via Getty Images

Hilo, HI
> Founded: 1902

Source: Rsharich / Wikimedia Commons

Franklin, ID
> Founded: 1860

Source: ghornephoto / iStock via Getty Images

Peoria, IL
> Founded: 1680

Source: Purdue9394 / iStock via Getty Images

Vincennes, IN
> Founded: 1732

Source: dirkhansen / Flickr

Dubuque, IA
> Founded: 1837

Source: BOB WESTON / iStock via Getty Images

Leavenworth, KS
> Founded: 1827

Source: JerryGrugin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Harrodsburg, KY
> Founded: 1774

Source: mkkerr / iStock via Getty Images

Natchitoches, LA
> Founded: 1714

Source: dougtone / Flickr

Kittery, ME
> Founded: 1647

Source: dougtone / Flickr

St. Mary’s City, MD
> Founded: 1634

Source: pabradyphoto / iStock via Getty Images

Plymouth, MA
> Founded: 1620

Source: ehrlif / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Sault Ste. Marie, MI
> Founded: 1668

Source: Jon Platek / Wikimedia Commons

Wabasha, MN
> Founded: 1830

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Biloxi, MS
> Founded: 1699

Source: Andrew Balet / Wikimedia Commons

St. Genevieve, MO
> Founded: 1735

Source: J.B. Chandler / Wikimedia Commons

Fort Benton, MT
> Founded: 1846

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images

Omaha, NE
> Founded: 1854

Source: gchapel / iStock via Getty Images

Genoa, NV
> Founded: 1850

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Dover, NH
> Founded: 1623

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images

Jersey City, NJ
> Founded: 1617

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Santa Fe, NM
> Founded: 1607

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Albany, NY
> Founded: 1614

Source: NRedmond / iStock via Getty Images

Bath, NC
> Founded: 1705

Source: afiler / Flickr

Pembina, ND
> Founded: 1850

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Martins Ferry, OH
> Founded: 1779

Source: raksyBH / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Fort Gibson, OK
> Founded: 1824

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Astoria, OR
> Founded: 1811

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Chester, PA
> Founded: 1644

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

Providence, RI
> Founded: 1636

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

Charleston, SC
> Founded: 1670

Source: aitcheyedigital / iStock via Getty Images

Fort Pierre, SD
> Founded: 1832

Source: Rebecca-Arnott / iStock via Getty Images

Jonesborough, TN
> Founded: 1779

Source: John Moore / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Ysleta (part of El Paso), TX
> Founded: 1680

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Ogden, UT
> Founded: 1845

Source: dougtone / Flickr

Westminster, VT
> Founded: 1735

Source: Robert_Ford / iStock via Getty Images

Jamestown, VA
> Founded: 1607

Source: irina88w / iStock via Getty Images

Steilacoom, WA
> Founded: 1851

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Shepherdstown and Romney, WV
> Founded: 1762

Source: JamesBrey / iStock via Getty Images

Green Bay, WI
> Founded: 1765

Source: con4tini / Flickr

Cheyenne, WY
> Founded: 1867

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