Imagine you are waking up one morning in your Boston Massachusetts home. You hear the clip clop of horses passing by on the streets, the hustle and bustle of trade, a constant hum of activity associated with a busy seaport. You are in the fourth largest city in the country with a scant population of approximately 33,000. It’s 1813.
You read this article in the local paper (transcribed in full below). Do you start packing up the mule/horse/ox for a trip?
This town, just laid out with spacious streets, public square, market, &c. is situated on the banks of the Ohio river, at the crossing place from Louisville to Vincennes, about two miles below the Falls, in the Indiana Territory, affords a beautiful and commodious harbor. The beauty of the prospect is not surpassed by any in the Western Country. The bank adjoining the river is high, and not subject to inundations. At the distance of 660 feet back is a second rise of about 20 feet, from which there is an extensive view up and down the river. There is a sufficient number of excellent and never failing springs for the supplying of any number of inhabitants. This advantage, together with that of the country around, being dry, and clear of any stagnant water; being sufficiently distant below the Falls to avoid the fogs, and any noxious exhalement arising therefrom in the warm season and the wind generally blowing up at the that time, are sufficient reasons to induce a belief of healthfulness of the situation. The advantages New Albany has in point of trade, are perhaps unrivaled by any on the Ohio, as it is immediately below all the dangers which boats and ships are subject to in passing over the Falls, and is the only eligible situation for a depot all the exports and imports of a great part of the Territory, and may export and import while the river is low and markets good, as well as when the water is high. From the vast quantity of excellent ship timber, the abundance of iron ore, within a few miles, and the facility with which hemp is raised, it is presumed that this will be one of the best ports in the United States for the building of vessels, as well as the loading of them. The erection of a saw mill to go by steam, is contemplated this fall, and a grist and flour mill next summer.
Lots will be sold at Auction on the first Tuesday and Wednesday in November next. The terms of payment will be one fourth ready money, and the remainder at three annual installments, to be secured by the deed of trust or otherwise—One fourth part of each payment to be paid into the hands of trustees, (to be chosen by the purchasers) until such payments shall amount to five thousand dollars; the interest of which to be applied to the use of schools in the town, for the use of its inhabitants forever.
Manufacturers of iron, cotton, hemp, wool, &c. are much wanted, as are all kinds of mechanism.
New Albany, July 8, 1813
*Special thanks to Paul Potts for providing this wonderful tidbit of New Albany history for all to see.