New Richmond, Ohio, (population 2,219) located along the Ohio River, was laid out in 1814 by Jacob Light. In 1816 Thomas Ashburn laid out the town of Susanna directly adjacent to New Richmond, and in 1828, the two towns merged.
With this merger came the largest period of growth New Richmond has ever witnessed. The rise of steamboats meant a rise in the town’s prosperity. Business was plentiful, and the village seemed headed toward its founders’ goal of rivaling nearby Cincinnati.
By the 1880s, improved road systems and the railroad led to the decline of the Ohio River as a major shipping route. New Richmond suffered from the lack of business and repeated flooding, and the 1937 flood was seen by some as the final blow.
Today, however, New Richmond is experiencing a resurgence, thanks to new housing along the village’s hillsides and concentrated efforts to revitalize the riverfront district, which includes the historic Front Street Business District. A recent signage project draws visitors and interprets the town’s history, particularly its role in the anti-slavery effort. New Richmond was an early center of the abolitionist movement, and its riverfront park has been designated as a site along the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Other Underground Railroad and abolitionist sites are featured as part of the Clermont County, Ohio, Freedom Trail.
The Ross Gowdy House Museum, built in 1850, is on the National Register of Historic Places and has served as the town’s museum and headquarters of Historic New Richmond since 1973. Another attraction is the birthplace of President Ulysses S. Grant, a restored one-story, three-room cottage built in 1817 next to the tannery where Grant’s father worked. The small cottage is furnished with period items. At one time the birthplace made an extensive tour of the United States on a railroad flatcar and was also temporarily displayed on the Ohio State fairgrounds.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2008.