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The Eleven Most Historic Cities in the United States

Updated on August 8, 2016
Vintage houses along St. Augustine's St. George Street.
Vintage houses along St. Augustine's St. George Street. | Source

1. St. Augustine, Florida. Founded by the Spanish in 1565 St. Augustine is the oldest European-founded city in the United States (continuously inhabited) and its historical charm clearly highlights this proud fact. Entire streets are lined by buildings constructed in the 17th and 18th century and the large Spanish forts of Castillo de San Marcos, in the city, and Fort Matanzas, a few miles down the coast, are reminders of the importance of this city on the northern frontier of Spanish America. The city also claims to have the oldest house in the United States, now a much-publicized private museum run by the St. Augustine Historical Society and open to the public. These claims are always debatable but the house is worth the visit for those interested in history. The house, also known as the Gonzalez-Alvarez House, dates to 1723 which clearly would not make it the oldest unless you add the qualifier of an original, European-built structure. But the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts has a more solid claim to this title, dating to 1637. Still, the houses of Acoma and Taos Pueblo in New Mexico outdated all by a couple hundred years at least.

Whether historic or not, all buildings in Santa Fe, New Mexico are built according to the adobe-hacienda code.
Whether historic or not, all buildings in Santa Fe, New Mexico are built according to the adobe-hacienda code. | Source

2. Santa Fe, New Mexico. It took a few tries to get this city permanently established in 1608 by the Spaniards but the good location was no secret to the Pueblo Indians who had occupied the area from 1050 to 1150. The historical integrity of the city is noticed immediately as all the buildings, including the Walmarts are built to code in the unique hacienda-adobe style. Many of the buildings you see are original, especially in the downtown area, or at least built over the foundations of originals. San Miguel Chapel, constructed in 1610, is reputed to be the oldest church structure in the United States. The Governors Palace is another outstanding historical feature of the city and is easily located in the historic downtown area.

The Paul Revere House in Boston, c. 1680. Reputedly the oldest house in the city.
The Paul Revere House in Boston, c. 1680. Reputedly the oldest house in the city. | Source

3. Boston, Massachusetts. Boston traces its beginnings to 1630 when Puritan colonists from England. Its long pedigree, at least by American standards, carries over into the city’s historic buildings and neighborhoods. Old cemeteries, such as the Old Granary and Copps Hill Burial Grounds, are seen from busy sidewalks and beautiful colonial architecture is dwarfed by modern skyscrapers, such as the Old State House which dates to 1713 and is considered the oldest public building in the city. The best way to experience Boston’s history is to follow the Freedom Trail which is free and well marked along the city’s sidewalks. The Trail starts near the State House, another architectural marvel designed by Charles Bulfinch in 1798, and winds its way through the North End and across the Charles River to the Bunker Hill Battlefield monument. Along the way you will also notice the King's Chapel, built between 1749 and 1754 by Peter Harrison. This stone building has a long history, first established in 1688, the current structure was built over the older wooden building.

The State House, Annapolis, Maryland, c. 1772.
The State House, Annapolis, Maryland, c. 1772. | Source

4. Annapolis, Maryland. Annapolis has the oldest original state capitol building still in use by a legislature. Referred to locally as the state houseit dates to 1772 and it has the largest wooden dome construction without nails. Ok, how many wooden domes are there in the nation let alone nails used or not. That’s just for starters. Founded in 1649 by Puritan exiles the city is the home to the U.S. Naval Academy which was founded in 1845. While the buildings don’t predate its establishment they are an interesting collection of grand works, and tours of the Naval Academy are given to the public. Perhaps more interesting are the distinguished graduate sailors and marines that the Academy has graduated. The city has no less than 29 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places many of them finely preserved homes that are built in Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival styles. The Colonial Annapolis Historic District is a showpiece and contains 120 18thcentury buildings. The location close to both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore make it very accessible if not a little crowded with tourists at times.

The Old Courthouse, New Castle, Delaware, once served as the state capitol.
The Old Courthouse, New Castle, Delaware, once served as the state capitol. | Source

5. New Castle, Delaware. Just south of Wilmington is the unexpected town of New Castle. New Castle dates to 1651, when it was founded as an outpost of the Dutch West India Company under Peter Stuyvesant. It’s even older if you factor in its previous settlement as a Native American village. It’s still a small town but the old assortment of architecture is astounding for a city (town) of its size. The cobblestone streets around the town green at once a reminder of medieval England. Start at the Old New Castle Courthouseon Delaware Street, which served as the old colonial capitol and first state capitol of Delaware. Dating from the late 18thcentury the spire on this building was used as the center for measuring the 12 mile circle which formed the arced state line between Pennsylvania and Delaware. There are a number of old houses, especially those that line the Green. The oldest dwelling in the town dates from about 1700 and it’s known as the Old Dutch House. In nearby Wilmington is the oldest church in the state, the Old Swedes Church, or HolyTrinity Church founded in 1699. Not to be confused with the Old Swedes Church in Philadelphia, the one in Wilmington is said to be the nation’s oldest original church building still standing. It is built atop the foundations of Fort Christina, a Swedish fort, founded in 1638.

Maybe the best known historic structure in the United States: Philadelphia's Independence Hall.
Maybe the best known historic structure in the United States: Philadelphia's Independence Hall. | Source

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Similar to many colonial cities, Philadelphia’s beginnings were marked by false starts. The official founding of the city as we know it today began with William Penn’s 1682 ambitious grid-lay out that still marks the modern foundation of the city’s planning. However, a little know fact is that there were colonists who inhabited parts of what is today’s Philadelphia as early as 1637 with the arrival of the Swedes who established a colony along the Delaware south of the Schuylkill River. The Dutch arrived soon after and by 1655 gained administrative control of the region. Today’s best known reminder of this early period is manifested in the still extant Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) Church founded in 1677. It remains the oldest church in the state of Pennsylvania. The city’s history needs no special introduction. Its central location midway between north and south made it an early capital of the United States from 1790-1800. Before this it was the major meeting place of the various Continental Congresses and it was in Philadelphia where the greatest of American documents were penned and put into law: the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. Beyond the lettered history that this city fostered, the number of extant historical buildings in Philadelphia is astonishing and it even eclipses Boston in this regard. Vintage historic buildings from the colonial period, for instance, are located in so many areas of the city – in places that were established as separate towns and villages before they were merged with the growing urban metropolitan area. Germantown, Chestnut Hill, and Manayunk, for instance, all have blocks of houses and buildings that are well-preserved. In this respect, the city’s architectural and breadth scope is unique. In addition there are dozens of old colonial mansions that dot the hills above the Schuylkill, such as Lemon Hill (c. 1800), a federal-style mansion, and Strawberry Mansion (c. 1789) to name a few. The old plantations on which these houses sat became the foundations of Fairmount Park. Whole blocks of vintage row homes can still be seen in Society Hill and even older row homes, which date to the early 18th century, can be found along Elfreth’s Alley. The Georgian style Independence Hall (1732-1753), which once served as the capitol on the United States, is the centerpiece of the city’s old quarter and a block or two away are some classic Greek Revival buildings that are now preserved as part of the Independence National Historical Park.

The pastel-colored historic buildings make Charleston's streets colorful.
The pastel-colored historic buildings make Charleston's streets colorful. | Source

7. Charleston, South Carolina. No discussion of America’s historic cities is complete without mention of Charleston. Established in 1670, although a little northwest of the present location, today’s city was built starting in 1680 and named for the King of England and was known as Charles Town. Its cosmopolitan status was established early and it was the 5th largest city in North America in 1690, a mere twenty years after its settlement. It became well-known for trade and a hub of the rice and indigo markets that South Carolina cultivated. At the beginning of the 19th century it had the largest and wealthiest Sephardic Jewish community in North America. Consequently there are a number of Jewish temples in the city that date to colonial times and are among the oldest in the country. Well known is the Orthodox synagogue and KahalKadosh Beth Elohim Temple that dates to 1749. Huguenots and Roman Catholic communities also have a long history in this city that showed an unusual amount of tolerance for religious beliefs. The city’s streets and parks are not much changed from these colonial days. Beautiful Georgian homes still line many of the streets and walking the streets is like walking into old colonial America. Spires from the various churches in the city punctuate the skyline and many date to colonial days. Not to be missed is The Battery, the public park that is situated against the waterfront. Another interesting sight in the city is The Citadel, or the Military College of South Carolina, and its one-of-a-kind checkerboard courtyards among its barracks. State-funded, it was established in 1842. Finally don’t forget to take a chartered ferry to Fort Sumter which guards the bay. It was here that the first shots of the Civil War were fired as Confederate soldiers attempted to take this Federal stronghold in April 1861.

Colonial Legislature (Capitol).  Historic Williamsburg, Virginia.
Colonial Legislature (Capitol). Historic Williamsburg, Virginia. | Source

8. Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded around 1699 Williamsburg grew out of the failed experiment at Jamestown, the first colonial capital of Virginia. Jamestown's poor location along a swampy bottom-land waterfront made maintenance of this well-known settlement dubious from the start in 1607. Poor fresh water sources, Indian attack, awful humidity, and finally Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 contributed to its demise less than a century after its iconic founding in 1607. Williamsburg quickly filled this void as it was located a mere 7 miles away. Originally known as Middle Plantation, Williamsburg's location was considered more suitable because it sat on high ground on a narrow neck of land between the York and James Rivers - better for defense against Indian attack or the Spanish. It also had better fresh water sources located away from the brackish backwater that easily infested and infected Jamestown. Middle Plantation had been around since 1632 but the need to move the colonial capital and the newly established College of William and Mary (c. 1693) underwrote the renaming of Williamsburg (after King William III), complete with newly laid out set of streets. Today's Wiliamsburg bears all the hallmarks of the original planned capital. The exquisite Governor's Palace and Colonial Legislature (capitol) are perhaps the showpieces of what you see today: an ultra-scrubbed historical Disneyland called 'Historic Williamsburg'. Few of the showpiece buildings, such as the capitol and Governor's Residence are originals. Those burned down long ago. What you see today was rebuilt, albeit faithfully, by the Rockefeller Foundation, and remains a private theme-park for the historically-minded. Even the famous Wren Building at the College of William and Mary burned down a couple times and the version one sees today dates to after the Civil War. The Bruton Parish Church building, on the grounds of Historic Williamsburg, is open free-of-charge, and dates to 1715. It remains an active Episcopal parish. The College of William and Mary, the South's only institution of higher learning for some time, and the second oldest college in the United States after Harvard eventually pumped out three US presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler. Other famous alum include Chief Justice John Marshall and Henry Clay along with 16 signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Looking down one of New Orleans old quarter streets towards the business dictrict in a pre-Katrina photograph.
Looking down one of New Orleans old quarter streets towards the business dictrict in a pre-Katrina photograph. | Source

9. New Orleans, Louisiana. Surprisingly most of the famous historic architecture you seen in this unique city is of Spanish pedigree despite its more common association with the French. New Orleans was founded in 1718 by the French Mississippi Company but was ceded to Spain in 1763. The buildings from the French Quarter, or Vieux Carre, were built during the Spanish occupation. By 1801 the city found itself back in French hands only to be sold by Napoleon to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The French Quarter is not to be missed for its unusual architecture and cultural backdrop. Worth seeing in the area is the Chalmette Battlefield, site of the Battle of New Orleans between the United States and Great Britain. Also not to miss in the city is the Garden District, an incredible collection of historical homes which began around 1832 and a hallmark of the city's burgeoning prosperity brought about by the commercial traffic along the Mississippi River. The Garden District is bounded by St. Charles Ave., 1st Street, Magazine Street, and Toledano Street, and has arguably the nation's best and most concentrated collections of antebellum mansions.

The Concepcion Mission in San Antonio, Texas, c. 1731, part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
The Concepcion Mission in San Antonio, Texas, c. 1731, part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. | Source

10. San Antonio, Texas. Unlike most of the other cities and towns listed here San Antonio, along with Santa Fe, is not a coastal city. Established in 1718 around the Alamo Mission, the future location of the city was first visited by the Spaniards in 1691. The Spaniards established a mission, known as San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) here by 1718 because they sought to establish a presence in the region as a bulwark against colonial France. Not coincidentally New Orleans, founded by the French, was established the same year. The most famous of the city’s sights can be seen in a long, well-planned day. The River Walk, Alamo, the Spanish Governor’s Palace, and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park are the best preserved historic sites in the city and should not be left out of any itinerary.

Antebellum mansion, Savannah, Georgia.
Antebellum mansion, Savannah, Georgia. | Source

(11). Savannah, Georgia.This is the state’s oldest city established in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe. Its streets, laid-out in a perfect grid, represent an excellent example of early colonial city-planning. The city’s downtown is one of the largest National Historic Landmark districts. The city’s squares, numbering 22, are what make it unique. When the city was laid-out in 1733 it was designed around four open squares, anticipating room for growth and expansion of the grid. By 1851 the city had expanded to as many as 24 squares but since then three have been demolished in urban revival schemes. Of those three, one was restored in 2010. The squares are actually parks shaded by oak and palmettos, and many have fountains and monuments. It’s really a unique arrangement. Forsyth Park is a 30 acre park established in the 1840s and contains a beautiful water fountain built in 1858. Of the city’s park, this is perhaps the best know. It also has Confederate monument which is in the center of the park. Not to be missed is River Street, which has a number of old 19th century cotton warehouses that have been refurbished into shops and restaurants. Nearby Fort Pulaski, a national monument in of the National Park Service, is a masonry fort that overlooks the mouth of the Savannah River on Tybee Island. Construction of this moated fort was completed in 1847 and it sustained heavy damage by Union forces during the Civil War, when it was temporarily occupied by Confederate soldiers.

Old Scottish Rite Temple, often mistaken for former state capitol building. Guthrie, Oklahoma. c.1919.
Old Scottish Rite Temple, often mistaken for former state capitol building. Guthrie, Oklahoma. c.1919. | Source
The Mystery Tower in Newport, Rhode island.
The Mystery Tower in Newport, Rhode island. | Source

Honorable mentions:

Newport, Rhode Island. It would be awkward not to include Newport in this list and it’s no less deserving than the other cities. Newport’s small size is also another reason to add it to the list as it’s easy to see in one day and very walkable. This old colonial coastal town was established in 1639 as a splinter group of religious dissenters further splintered and ended up here. Since Rhode Island was founded on principles of religious toleration, Newport has an interesting history and the oldest synagogues in the United States, the Touro Synagogue, built between 1759 and 1763. Another interesting site is the Mystery Tower, or Newport Tower, whose origins are still debated. Some speculate it is a vestige of a lost Norse settlement and dates to the end of the first millennium. More concensus indicates it's a colonial windmill dating from about 1670. Nobody knows for sure. In addition to these sites other places worth seeing in the city are the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, whose painters include original Gilbert Stuart portraits. It is said to be the oldest public library still in existence in the United States, found in 1747. The Cliff Walk is also worthy of a stroll and along it you can view the various Gilded Age mega-mansions built by barons such as the Vanderbilts. The most famous of these is The Breakers (1895), which is open for tours. Fort Adams State Park, a gigantic fort that guards the headlands overlooking Narragansett Bay, is among the finest historic forts in the country. Finally the Old Colony House, or Old State House, or Newport Colony House, is a finely built Georgian style government building completed in 1741. Tours area available but the schedule is odd.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This is New Hampshire's second oldest city after Dover. It is also, not surprisingly, the state's former capital. Settled in 1623 Portsmouth has a number of historic houses that reflect different periods of architecture. The Strawbery Banke, the original name given to the settlement of Portsmouth, is a ten acre area with houses that date to 1695. Many have period furnishings. Other historic homes in the city include the Georgian-style Warner House (1716) (fee), the Moffatt-Ladd House (1716) (fee), the Wentworth-Gardner House (1760) (fee), the Georgian Governor John Landgon Memorial (1784) (fee), and the John Paul Jones House (fee). The city is compact and small enough to walk with only a population of 21,000. Fort Constitution in nearby New Castle dates to 1791 and is one of the oldest federal forts (coastal defenses) in the United States. The nearby Portsmouth Naval Base hosted the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905 which ended the Russo-Japanese War and earned Teddy Roosevelt the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation.

Guthrie, Oklahoma. Oklahoma was designated Indian Territory until the Great Land Rush opened it up to settlement in 1889. Canon-shot echoed across prairies on April 22 of that year and with it the Great Land Run saw a tsunami-like flood of people charge across the borders to lay claim to a parcel of land. Guthrie's origins predate this event by a couple years as a railway junction in 1887 but the Land Run gave they city further impetus and an overnight population of 10,000. Guthrie's central location flagged it as the administrative center, or capital, of the new territory, but Oklahoma City soon eclipsed Guthrie in influence with a growing farming industrial base and as a railroad hub. Today Guthrie is a charming city of 10,000 with a beautiful collection of Victorian era buildings and a strong sense of its importance in the state's history.

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    • Norah Casey profile image

      Norah Casey 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Great hub, jvhirniak! I lived in Santa Fe for a little while, and it was remarkably easy for one to stumble upon some ancient relic of the city's past. Once, I wandered into a back lot looking for a shortcut to my parked car. I looked down, and there were the remains of an outline for an old building. It wasn't an empty lot at all, but a piece of history hiding under the grass. Other than Boston, I have not been to any other places on your list, but I will make an effort now. Thank you!

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 7 years ago

      Norah - that's really amazing that you can stumble across old ruins/foundations in that city. It's interesting what you can find if you dig down below the foundations of some of these buildings which are built atop older structures. Thank you for sharing and visiting.

    • gramarye profile image

      gramarye 7 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      Thats an interesting hub. I've been to the states several times but never to those cities. I'll have to decide which ones I'll put on the list for next time.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 7 years ago

      Gramarye - there's even more places that I didn't include, one of which is Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and of course Williamsburg, Virginia (a bit artificial, touristy, and over-priced) thus my decision not to put it on the list. I'll have to make some updates when i visit more places. Many thanks for viewing!

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      dbk 6 years ago

      just surprised philly was so low on this

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 6 years ago

      dbk - the numbered list is really not meant to be an indicator of historical importance/rank relative to any other city on the list with the exception of when the cities were founded. Sorry for the confusion. If you look at the entries you will see that Philly probably has the longest paragraph and for good reason. Cheers.

    • Bootsmade4walkin profile image

      Bootsmade4walkin 5 years ago from Washington, DC / Leadville, CO

      Cool hub! But what about Washington, DC?! I grew up there and there is history at every turn. And even though it wouldn't make the list, because it's only population 2,700, check out Leadville, CO. I've just moved here and the history is quite fascinating! The locals are constantly telling my stories about ghosts that still inhabit the silver rush buildings!

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      Phil 5 years ago

      Richmond, VA is extremely important in history of our nation.

    • profile image

      Knowledgeincubator 5 years ago

      There is so much more that could have been said about The Great Cty of New Orleans.... The city that gave America it's first opera house, first apartment buildings, the oldest catholic school in the United States, the first mass immigration of free people of African descent (Gens de coleur libres), America's only native art form-jazz music, etc. The list goes on and on..... You didn't even mention the Garden District..... The photo you uploaded of Jackson Square states that it was before Katrina. However, Jackson Square and most of the historic district were not affected by Katrina like other parts of the city (higher ground). In fact, Jackson Square may well look better now than it did before Katrina. Have you ever visited The Cresent City?

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 5 years ago

      Knowledgeincubator - so noted. It's been a while since I've been to the big easy (pre-katrina) so I appreciate your comments. There is so much more I could write about EVERY city on here but in the interest of brevity and time, I cannot and do not.

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 4 years ago from Slaton, Texas USA

      It's Hubs like this that made me join this site to start with. I love learning about historic places, and think you are fortunate to have been to all of these! I especially like the photo of New Orleans, the old mixing with the new is what I think this country is all about. Thank you for writing this Hub!

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      Janowl 4 years ago

      Where is Richmond? This seems arbitrary and skewed towards New England.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      Janowl - I'm looking over my list and I only see one out of ten cities that are in New England so I'm not seeing how the list is 'skewed' or 'arbitrary' (?). I think I might have to add some qualifiers however, perhaps clarify "ten most historically preserved cities". Richmond is old, no doubt, founded 1645 or so, but other than the fine state capitol and an old church or two, you just don't get the sense of its history mostly because is was razed and burned during the Civil War. Thanks for chiming in and sorry that the Old Dominion is not represented. (Perhaps I will add Williamsburg soon).

    • MobyWho profile image

      MobyWho 4 years ago from Burlington VT

      Damned if you do and damned if you don't! Great Hub, and I'm sure those who missed seeing their own pet city were 'pulling your leg'. Gee! How come you didn't include Bridgeport (any one of the seventeen in the country)?

      Your commenters are Hubbers - suggest they do a little sleuthing and write one themselves about the city they know and love.

      I have to laugh at one of your suggested books mentioning 'donut shops'. When my husband and I set out 'to see America' in our motorhome a few years back - that was our mission; to find the best fried cinnamon donuts in America. Result: Jefferson,VT, Duck, NC (Outer Banks), and Santa Fe, NM (Kip's). Baked donuts just don't do it for us. See an old Hub of mine: https://hubpages.com/travel/Withing-50-Miles-of-Bu... Hmm - should have proofread the title a bit sooner!

      So, we can look forward to more great city snapshots from you? Great!

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      MobyWho - thank you and yes, it's become 'political' as to which cities are on the list or not, and how they are ordered on the list (never mind the historical merits)! I never would have thought when I wrote this. When time permits, perhaps I will wring out another ten cities. Thanks for the tip on where the best (fried) donuts are, never would have thought Jefferson VT would be a place. Funny I've been to all of those places you mentioned. I will have to visit your hubpages as well. Many thanks for commenting!

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      bullaro 4 years ago

      Trenton Nj should be either near the top or at the top of all these historic city lists. It was the site of George Washington'S first military victory during the revolutionary war. Trenton was also the capital of America for a short time and was set to be the perminant capital of the new world. Southern states wanted something south of the mason dixon line.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      bullaro - I'm not sure that a battle singularly qualifies Trenton. In my last visit there I just didn't get a sense of the city's past. Other US capitals included York and Lancaster, PA, Baltimore, New York, Princeton, NJ, and Philadelphia. Thanks for reading.

    • MobyWho profile image

      MobyWho 4 years ago from Burlington VT

      @jvhirniak - Your Hub and its ensuing comments have provided enough fodder for thousands of fellow hubbers! Ten best cities for skinny-dipping, roller-bladeing, clam chowder; you name it! Write on!

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      MobyWho - thanks again, I do have a couple other top ten lists....

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Loved this Hub. I've been to most of these places and enjoyed the history. Voted up and awesome.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      suziecat - very glad you enjoyed and happy to hear you voted up. I'm sure you can appreciate reading about these places after your respective visits!

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      Limo Les 4 years ago

      Great Hub. I'd love to visit New England.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      Limo Les - thanks for reading. Mid Atlantic has some great historic cities and towns too.

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      tourguide4 4 years ago

      This is not complete. What about historic Guthrie, Oklahoma, where the first, Land Run of 1889 that opened up Oklahoma Territories for free land. No where in the world much less the USA has any historic land run like this ever been done. Guthrie, Oklahoma went from a population of 0 to over 12,000 people in less than 24 hours !! I am a Texan, and this is fantastic history to and for the USA that deserves a top 10 recognition.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      Tourguide4 - I do appreciate your comments and your mention of Guthrie, OK. No doubt the overnight population explosion is a unique fact - thanks for sharing!

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      lundhaven 4 years ago

      Why is it that Sault Saint Marie, Michigan is not mentioned in

      any of the lists of the oldest cities in the United States. I was

      under the impression that it came in third after St. Augustine

      and Santa Fee.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      lundhaven - I don't doubt Sault Saint Marie is old, but the list I have presented is not based on age alone. thanks for chiming in - I am in the process of making some updates to include more cities.

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      jrhunter 4 years ago

      I cant believe we are talking about history and the great state of virginia is not mentioned,williamsburg,jamestown,richmond,fredericksburg,you cant possibly have a top ten list and leave out va.george washington.tj,james monroe,james madison,revolutionary war,civil war,top notch indian history,are you kidding me right,you most be from new england.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      jrhunter- funny, this is the second time I've been accused of being from NE. I'm not. Yeah, Virginia is historic but if you read carefully you'll see that the list is the ten most historic cities, not states. Look at those cities you mentioned: Williamsburg - historic, but somewhat sterile in that it was rebuilt by Rockefeller in the 1930s. The beautiful capitol and colonial assembly you see today are completely rebuilt from scratch. Jamestown: abandoned by the year 1700 and capital city moved to Williamsburg. Note - you don't see Plymouth, MA on this page either, and people still live in Plymouth unlike Jamestown. Fredericksburg - A historic battle but why is it any more deserving than Gettysburg, which you'll notice is not on the list. Richmond - I just might add it one day - it's old, but compare it to Philadelphia where you have parts of the city where blocks upon blocks of houses have not been demolished or burned down and remain intact since the late 17th century. (Besides, Norfolk is older than Richmond). Cheers and thanks for viewing.

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      jrhunter 4 years ago

      Fredericksburg is more deserving then gettysburg,because it was also relevent in the revolutionary era.Your right you just cant point out one virginia city and say it should be on the list except for richmond,because virginias rich history is spread all over the state,just have a hard time metioning anything about us history without the old dominion being represented,put richmond on the list,virginia is us history.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 4 years ago

      jrhunter - I think I will add Williamsburg. I'm getting too much flak from the Virginia crowd. Thanks again for chiming in!

    • Toytasting profile image

      Toy Tasting 3 years ago from Mumbai

      Every place has its history. Thanks to you for making it easy to know so much about these cities in the United States. :)

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 3 years ago

      Toytasting - that's good historical perspective (your first sentence). Thanks for reading!

    • Magen Morris profile image

      Magen Morris 2 years ago from Chicago

      This is super interesting! I'm going to keep these on my to do list for future travels. I love visiting historic places and buildings, and I actually never knew the historical significance of these places.

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 2 years ago

      Magen - thank you for reading and hope you get to visit some of these amazing places!

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      David M. Sligh 2 years ago

      Why no mention of Mobile, Alabama? It was established in 1702. It was the 1st capital of French Louisiana. In fact, the Mardi Gras started in Mobile in 1703 (15 years before New Orleans was established).

    • jvhirniak profile image
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      jvhirniak 2 years ago

      David - the best I can do is add it. I get requests like this often questioning why I did not select this or that city. I really should start putting a disclaimer as this compiled list is not intended to suggest 'the ten oldest cities' but rather, subjectively, ten cities which have a unique and strong sense of history and historical preservation should you visit that city and walk the streets. Thanks for chiming in!

    • Rebecca Burg profile image

      Rebecca Burg 11 months ago from Florida

      What a wonderful thing to have all the historic places listed. Now we history buffs know where to go. Great bits of info on each place. Thanks!

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      jvhirniak 11 months ago

      Thanks, Rebecca. Just too many more places that aren't listed. I will need to write some more pages....

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      agog 9 months ago

      RICHMOND, VA. the "original First Baptist Church" dating from between 1799 and 1802, where a congregation of WHITES, SLAVES, and FREE BLACKS,...WORSHIPPED TOGETHER... for years..... https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/richmond/First%20Afr...

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      Sidney Lewis 7 days ago

      what about Madison Indiana it is to

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        jvhirniak 5 years ago

        Bootsmade4walkin - I've been to Leadville a couple times - beautiful town but I wasn't aware of the ghosts. Maybe next time. I left DC out because I think it generates enough gravity as the nation's capital - but you are right it is historic.

      • mts1098 profile image

        mts1098 4 years ago from InsideTheManCave

        Great hub...I have been to Annapolis and Philadelphia and enjoyed both cities...

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        jvhirniak 4 years ago

        mts1098 - Philadelphia arguably has the richest collection of colonial architecture in US in my experience. All the cities have their interesting nuances so its easier to contrast than compare. Thanks for reading!

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        Toy Tasting 3 years ago from Mumbai

        Thanks for sharing! :)

      • John Brunlees profile image

        John Brunlees 2 years ago from Birmingham, UK

        If I ever made it to America there is just so much I would want to see, couldn't do it in under 6 months for the trip!

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        jvhirniak 2 years ago

        John - no doubt, true. California, alone, would take a month or two. Best way to start is to pick a region, Northeast, Far West, Rocky Mountains.

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        agog 9 months ago

        1726 Berkeley plantation, History of the First Thanksgiving Using bricks fired on the Berkeley plantation, Benjamin Harrison IV built a Georgian-style three-story brick mansion on a hill overlooking the James River in 1726.[8] Berkeley would later earn a distinction shared only with Peacefield in Quincy, Massachusetts as the ancestral home for two United States Presidents. http://www.berkeleyplantation.com/four-centuries.h...

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        agog 9 months ago

        The boldness you displayed by allowing my chastising comments to be publicly exposed, and their adjoining post-applied-follow-ups has cautioned and humbled me...I retract my grade for you... c+/b- .... You a better person than previously calculated. I stand corrected! Thank you.

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        agog 9 months ago

        RICHMOND, VA. The John Marshall House Built in 1790 John Marshall, 4th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who served longer than any other Chief Justice, died as the result of an accident at the age of 79 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Marshall_House

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        agog 8 months ago

        RICHMOND, VA. Another important early building in the neighborhood is Mason’s Hall, a Palladian Masonic lodge dating from 1785-87. This handsome building at 1805-1807 East Franklin Street is the oldest Masonic lodge in the United States, and one of the oldest continuously used Masonic lodges in the world.

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          Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

          Great listing of some wonderful historic cities in the USA. I have been blessed to have visited 8 out of these 10 choices and would be hard pressed to select a favorite. Each has its own unique charms and plenty of sites to explore on multiple visits. You've done a great job of listing the highlights.

          Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

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          jvhirniak 4 years ago

          Happyboomernurse - Very pleased to hear your positive feedback on my hub. You are right, they all have unique qualities so it is hard t o pin one down as the best.

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          samantha 4 years ago

          pennsylvania is definatly important. you've got that right hub I'm doing a report on Pennsylvania and i could use some information. ill use that

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          Tiana Dreymor 3 years ago from Columbus, OH

          I've never been anywhere, Boys,

          Never cross the desert fair, Boys,

          Of travel I haven't done my share, Boys,

          I've never been anywhere....

          I haven't been to ANY of these cities... and have no real desire to. But I've been in/through 13 states and lived in 5...in the capital cities of 2 of them. Born in Superior, WI, raised in Northern MN, stranded in Florida for the better part of a year, moved to Nashville, TN for 7 years and currently in Columbus, OH for the last 15 years.

          This is not meant to be critical... just factual. It's a very interesting hub and a commend you for it. I am working on a hub about my hometown, Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a sort of pictorial of the last hundred years (and more.) Now, Grand Rapids is not a city by any means, population when I left there (1991) was about 15,000, and I doubt it's grown much since. But it has an interesting past. And I grew up in some of it...

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          Jonathan Kelly 2 years ago

          Hey, try Grand Rapids Michigan! population 190,ooo, no but seriously i now live in the wild west of New Mexico and most of the towns including Santa Fe just scream Historical cultures... the list goes on, the town i live near is Socorro nm and it's over 400 years old, and that's just another town here!

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          agog 9 months ago

          If you left Richmond, Virginia out of your "book Report" You deserve and F Next time do your home work with a sense of completeness in mind. Do you know the city that put forth the founding of this nation was Richmond Virginia ? yes , It was called the Virginia Plan, written by two Richmonders ,Thomas Jefferson and James Madison . The American Revolution was fired off not by Paul Revere, but A Richmonder named Patric Henry, who said in Saint Johns Church (built in 1741),"Give ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH... Do you know of any American city that was as significant as the capital of the confederacy, and that divided a nation that caused a civil war that claimed 620,000 deaths? I'm sure this and or anything else intelligent would equally escape you....You undoubtedly DESERVE an 'F'....and should be made to repeat the 4th grade for a 3rd time.

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          agog 9 months ago

          Shirley Plantation is Virginia’s first plantation, founded in 1613, http://www.shirleyplantation.com/history/

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          agog 8 months ago

          Another important early building in the neighborhood is Mason’s Hall, a Palladian Masonic lodge dating from 1785-87. This handsome building at 1805-1807 East Franklin Street is the oldest Masonic lodge in the United States, and one of the oldest continuously used Masonic lodges in the world.

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