Special Report

The Oldest Town in Every State

con4tini / Flickr

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?

Click here to see the oldest town in every state

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: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

Mobile, Alabama
> Founded: 1702


Source: Warren Metcalf / Shutterstock.com

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

Tubac, Arizona
> Founded: 1752

Source: Efy96001, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Georgetown, Arkansas
> Founded: 1789


San Diego, California
> Founded: 1769

Source: 134237162@N05 / Flickr

San Luis, Colorado
> Founded: 1851


Source: jjbers / Flickr

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

Source: Lee Cannon / Flickr

Lewes, Delaware
> Founded: 1631

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

St. Augustine, Florida
> Founded: 1565


Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Savannah, Georgia
> Founded: 1733

Source: jo Crebbin / Shutterstock.com

Hilo, Hawaii
> Founded: 1822


Franklin, Idaho
> Founded: 1860

Kaskaskia, Illinois
> Founded: 1703

Vincennes, Indiana
> Founded: 1732


Source: cosmonaut / Getty Images

Dubuque, Iowa
> Founded: 1837

Source: Soldier76 / iStock via Getty Images

Leavenworth, Kansas
> Founded: 1827


Source: JerryGrugin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Harrodsburg, Kentucky
> Founded: 1774

Source: mkkerr / Getty Images

Natchitoches, Louisiana
> Founded: 1714

Source: Photo Italia LLC / Getty Images

Biddeford, Maine
> Founded: 1631


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: 7Michael / iStock via Getty Images

Wabasha, Minnesota
> Founded: 1830

Source: nataliemaynor / Flickr

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


Source: Andrew Balet / Wikimedia Commons

St. Genevieve, Missouri
> Founded: 1735

Source: beachgrampa / Getty Images

Stevensville, Montana
> Founded: 1841


Source: Ammodramus / Wikimedia Commons

Bellevue, Nebraska
> Founded: 1822

Genoa, Nevada
> Founded: 1851

Source: mountinez / Getty Images

Dover, New Hampshire
> Founded: 1623


Source: Jerrye and Roy Klotz, MD / Wikimedia Commons

Woodbridge Township, New Jersey
> Founded: 1669

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Santa Fe, New Mexico
> Founded: 1610


Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Albany, New York
> Founded: 1686

Source: Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / Flickr

Bath, North Carolina
> Founded: 1705


Source: Wendy Van / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Marietta, Ohio
> Founded: 1788

Source: Ginny Baker / Flickr

Salina, Oklahoma
> Founded: 1796


Source: DC_Colombia / iStock via Getty Images

Astoria, Oregon
> Founded: 1811

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
> Founded: 1681

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Providence, Rhode Island
> Founded: 1636


Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Charleston, South Carolina
> Founded: 1670

Source: Geoff Eccles / iStock via Getty Images

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
> Founded: 1856


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

Elizabethton, Tennessee
> Founded: 1769

Nacogdoches, Texas
> Founded: 1779

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

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


Source: Jen Lobo / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Bennington, Vermont
> Founded: 1749

Source: Robert_Ford / iStock via Getty Images

Jamestown, Virginia
> Founded: 1607


Source: lfreytag / iStock via Getty Images

Steilacoom, Washington
> Founded: 1854

Source: bavarianinnwv.com

Shepherdstown / Romney, West Virginia
> Founded: 1762

Source: Chris Rand / Wikimedia Commons

Green Bay, Wisconsin
> Founded: 1634


Cheyenne, Wyoming
> Founded: 1867

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