The United States was founded about 245 years ago, but some American towns have been around for more than three centuries, and some longer still.
24/7 Tempo selected 100 towns that were founded before the American Revolution. We chose the towns by reviewing town and state websites, reference sources such as britannica.com, and sources such as thecompletepilgrim.com that provided information about America’s best preserved colonial towns. To be considered, towns needed to have originated in settlements that were founded, chartered, established, or incorporated before 1776. Virtually all of these towns, or the areas where they were established, had been Native American lands before European settlers arrived.
The vast majority of towns that were founded before 1776 are located in a handful of states in the Northeast. Massachusetts and Connecticut have by far the most towns incorporated prior to the Revolutionary War. On our list of 100 towns, 20 are in Massachusetts and 16 in Connecticut. Fewer than 10 towns on our list are in states west of Louisiana. Here is how each state got its name.
Thirty of the 50 states are home to towns that were founded before the Revolutionary War. Some of the oldest towns on the list, such as Kingston, New York, are also among the most common city names in the United States.
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