Founded in 1813, New Albany, Indiana (population 71,000) is the seat of Floyd County, situated on the Ohio River across from Louisville, Kentucky. Steamboat shipbuilding was the cornerstone of the city’s economy during the mid-19th century, along with glass manufacturing. By 1850, New Albany was the largest city in Indiana.
The city’s economy flourished even when the steamboat industry collapsed, thanks to the coming of the railroad, which sparked development of pork-packing and locomotive repair businesses. In the early 20th century, New Albany became a major producer of plywood and veneer, and recently its economy has diversified into a wide range of manufacturing.
One of New Albany’s most visible preservation efforts is the Division Street School, constructed in 1884 as an elementary school for black children, which operated until 1946. The schoolhouse was rehabilitated, including restoration of its historic windows, and today is used as an educational resource and neighborhood community building.
Other attractions include Scribner House, the museum home of New Albany’s founding family; Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site, a Victorian house museum; the Carnegie Center for Art and History, which maintains a permanent collection of local historical artifacts; and a walking tour of Mansion Row, featuring 27 historic homes.
Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to historic downtown New Albany for the week-long Harvest Homecoming. This Library of Congress-honored project has become Indiana’s third largest festival, featuring events for all ages and involving nearly all of the community’s religious and civic organizations.
Designated a Preserve America Community in January 2006.