Special Report

Oldest Historic Town in Every State

Source: Thinkstock

1. Alabama
> Oldest town: Mobile
> Year of first settlement: 1702

Mobile is the birthplace of baseball greats Hank Aaron, Billy Williams, Satchel Paige, and Ozzie Smith. During Mardi Gras, moonpies — a sweet sandwich confection of chocolate wafer and marshmallow center — are thrown to celebrants.

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Source: Christopher Michel / Wikimedia Commons

2. Alaska
> Oldest town: Sitka
> Year of first settlement: 1799

Sitka was a Russian fur trading post before the town and territory became part of the U.S. It also was the site where the Alaska Purchase — dubbed “Seward’s Folly” when America bought it for $7 million — was signed in 1867.

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Source: Thinkstock

3. Arizona
> Oldest town: Tucson
> Year of first settlement: 1775

The number of roadside billboards had become such an eyesore in Tucson in the 1970s that it became the subject of an unflattering two-page photo story in Life magazine. As a result, the city passed a code in 1980 that limited the number of billboards.

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Source: Davidiad / Wikimedia Commons

4. Arkansas
> Oldest town: Batesville
> Year of first settlement: 1819

Batesville, whose first settlers were French fur trappers, has had two previous names — Napoleon and Polk Bayou. Batesville is also known for its Mark Martin NASCAR Museum.

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Source: Thinkstock

5. California
> Oldest town: San Diego
> Year of first settlement: 1769

Spanish settlers had first visited the area that became San Diego in the early 17th century. They chose not to colonize the area because they believed that greater riches lay elsewhere. Spain eventually founded San Diego to check Russian fur traders were moving down the Pacific Coast. San Diego was the first of 21 Spanish missions established in California.

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