10 March 2014

Albion-the "center" of it all in Noble County

Noble County's Old Jail Museum and Courthouse, Albion
The need to establish a central county seat of government in Noble County became the catalyst for founding “the center” which later was named Albion.  The document ratifying the location of the county seat was signed beneath three large white oak trees where the courthouse now stands. There had been three previous locations where the county seat of government resided:  Sparta, Augusta, and Ft. Mitchell.  Two square miles were carved out of York and Jefferson Township in 1846 and the new township was named Albion.  A plat was created and the community was selected as the county seat.  The public square was reserved for a courthouse and a lot was allocated for the county jail.  Samuel Clymer built the first residence on the south side of the square and a second one followed by 1847.

The Noble County Courthouse, 1888, Albion
The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1888 after it was determined the previous building was inadequate for the growing population of Noble County.  The former jail, now a museum, was the second jail built in the county, in 1875.  The Chicago division of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was constructed through the south side of Albion in 1873.  This event and several fires in the downtown provided an opportunity to rebuild the commercial center of the town during the 1870s through the 1880s.  The new, large brick business blocks that were constructed reflected the new found prosperity the railroad brought.
Main lobby of the Noble County Courthouse
The population of Albion was 100 in 1850.  In 1870 the population had increased to 476.  Forty new residences had been constructed within a year after the railroad had been established through the town in 1873.  In 1874 Albion was incorporated as a town.  By 1890 the population had nearly tripled to 1300 and in 1906 the population was 1600.  In the first decade of the 20th century the town had installed electric lights, a waterworks and sewer system, and a telephone system.  The town’s wood sidewalks were removed and replaced with concrete sidewalks and the streets had been covered with gravel.  Albion’s growth stabilized by the middle of the 20th century and the district has remained the center of the community.  Albion entered the new year of 2014 with its courthouse square district listed on the National Register.

From the roof of the courthouse, overlooking the Albion Opera House, a preservation save by a local group

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