Augusta (population 1,204) was founded in 1795 and became an important shipping port on the Ohio River during the 19th century. Augusta has had a ferry crossing since 1798, and today's ferry remains one of the few still in operation on the Ohio River.
Because of its close proximity to the state of Ohio, Augusta and surrounding Bracken County were important points of passage for slaves seeking freedom via the Underground Railroad.
A walking tour of Augusta highlights the historic sites associated with the fleeing slaves and the abolitionists who assisted them, and development of an amphitheater is proposed that would feature an outdoor drama about the Underground Railroad. Fugitive slaves who were captured and did not reach freedom were held in the Old Augusta Jail. Dating from 1811, the building is the oldest jail in the state on its original foundation.
The city is working with non-profit organizations to preserve the building, which was in use as late as 1967. The jail is one of many historic buildings remaining in the downtown, and three-quarters of the community's structures have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2004.