The Oldest Town in Every State

The Oldest Town in Every State

Some of America’s oldest continuously occupied settlements have evolved into booming cities that continue to grow, while others have seen their heyday pass but still retain their history and charm. Many of the country’s earliest towns once functioned as trading hubs, military installations, or regional centers of power for colonial governments. (These are American towns founded before the American revolution.)

Not surprisingly, most of our oldest municipalities, dating from the 17th century, are in the Northeast, where the English and the Dutch first established their communities — though the oldest of all is St. Augustine, founded by the Spanish in Florida in 1565. By international standards, of course, that isn’t very old. By way of comparison, consider the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

In assembling our list of each state’s oldest town, we 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.

We included only towns, cities, 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 are of course much older than those founded by Europeans. Even within these parameters, making definitive assessments of a town’s age can be difficult. Should it be judged by the date of its founding, settlement, incorporation?

In most cases, we have chosen the year in which a permanent settlement was first established on the site of what has become a modern city or even just sustained itself as a small hamlet. There are inevitably disputes between towns over who was really first (at least three Vermont communities, for instance, claim the title), but the places on this list are most likely indeed the oldest.

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

Mobile, Alabama
> Founded: 1702

Source: Katie Walker / Wikimedia Commons

Kodiak (founded as Pavlovsk Gavan), Alaska
> Founded: 1792

Source: Joel Hensler / iStock via Getty Images

Tubac, Arizona
> Founded: 1752

Source: Efy96001 / Wikimedia Commons

Georgetown, Arkansas
> Founded: 1789

Source: Ron and Patty Thomas / E+ via Getty Images

San Diego, California
> Founded: 1769

Source: Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

San Luis, Colorado
> Founded: 1851

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

Windsor (founded as Dorchester), Connecticut
> Founded: 1633

Source: Dana Dagle Photography / iStock via Getty Images

Lewes, Delaware
> Founded: 1631

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

St. Augustine, Florida
> Founded: 1565

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Savannah, Georgia
> Founded: 1733

Source: steinphoto / iStock via Getty Images

Hilo, Hawaii
> Founded: 1822

Source: kenlund / Flickr

Franklin, Idaho
> Founded: 1860

Source: davidwilson1949 / Flickr

Kaskaskia, Illinois
> Founded: 1703

Source: Purdue9394 / iStock via Getty Images

Vincennes, Indiana
> Founded: 1732

Source: cosmonaut / iStock via Getty Images

Dubuque, Iowa
> Founded: 1837

Source: BOB WESTON / iStock via Getty Images

Leavenworth, Kansas
> Founded: 1827

Source: JerryGrugin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Harrodsburg, Kentucky
> Founded: 1774

Source: mkkerr / iStock via Getty Images

Natchitoches, Louisiana
> Founded: 1714

Source: Photo Italia LLC / iStock via Getty Images

Biddeford, Maine
> Founded: 1631

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

St. Mary’s City, Maryland
> Founded: 1634

Source: pabradyphoto / iStock via Getty Images

Plymouth, Massachusetts
> Founded: 1620

Source: ehrlif / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
> Founded: 1668

Source: Jon Platek / Wikimedia Commons

Wabasha, Minnesota
> Founded: 1830

Source: Chris Pruitt

Ocean Springs (founded as Fort Maurepas), Mississippi
> Founded: 1699

Source: Andrew Balet / Wikimedia Commons

St. Genevieve, Missouri
> Founded: 1735

Source: Robert_Ford / iStock via Getty Images

Stevensville, Montana
> Founded: 1841

Source: Public Domain

Bellevue, Nebraska
> Founded: 1822

Source: gchapel / iStock via Getty Images

Genoa, Nevada
> Founded: 1851

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Dover, New Hampshire
> Founded: 1623

Source: Public Domain

Woodbridge Township, New Jersey
> Founded: 1669

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Santa Fe, New Mexico
> Founded: 1610

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Albany, New York
> Founded: 1686

Source: Public Domain

Bath, North Carolina
> Founded: 1705

Source: afiler / Flickr

Pembina, North Dakota
> Founded: 1797

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

Marietta, Ohio
> Founded: 1788

Source: Courtesy of Salina Area Chamber of Commerce via Facebook

Salina, Oklahoma
> Founded: 1796

Source: JPLDesigns / iStock via Getty Images

Astoria, Oregon
> Founded: 1811

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
> Founded: 1681

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

Providence, Rhode Island
> Founded: 1636

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Charleston, South Carolina
> Founded: 1670

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
> Founded: 1856

Source: J. Michael Jones / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Elizabethton, Tennessee
> Founded: 1769

Source: Marti157900 / iStock via Getty Images

Nacogdoches, Texas
> Founded: 1779

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

Ogden (founded as Fort Buenaventura), Utah
> Founded: 1851

Source: Kirkikis / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Bennington, Vermont
> Founded: 1749

Source: Robert_Ford / iStock via Getty Images

Jamestown, Virginia
> Founded: 1607

Source: irina88w / iStock via Getty Images

Steilacoom, Washington
> Founded: 1854

Source: Public Domain

Shepherdstown / Romney, West Virginia
> Founded: 1762

Source: JamesBrey / iStock via Getty Images

Green Bay, Wisconsin
> Founded: 1634

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images

Cheyenne, Wyoming
> Founded: 1867

To top