18 American Towns Every Old-House Lover Needs to See

For old house enthusiasts, the historic charm of a vintage home can outweigh even the most tempting of today's modern amenities. Whether you’re on the lookout for an old home to buy or you simply want to gaze at stately, well-preserved residences of yesteryear, these 18 towns and cities are rife with lovely old homes that have become only more beautiful with time.

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  1. Lawrence, Kansas

    Lawrence-ks

    When a large swath of this Midwestern town was burned to the ground in Quantrill's Raid in 1863, it lost many of its historic homes. With a few notable exceptions, the old houses in Lawrence were built after the raid, from 1870 to 1920. Visitors will enjoy the city's collection of Folk-Victorian, Queen Anne, English Cottage, Craftsman, and Colonial Revival homes, especially in the 12-block expanse known as Old West Lawrence Historic District. Surrounding this throwback glamour is a colorful college town known for its vibrant arts and music scene.


    Related: Editor's Picks: 7 Tools to Wage War Against Leaves

    Flickr via kansasphoto

  2. Belmont, North Carolina

    Belmont-nc

    Dubbed “beautiful mountain” because of its proximity to Crowders Mountain, Belmont appeals to architectural aficionados as much as it does to nature lovers. The Downtown Belmont Historic District is home to 264 buildings dating from 1850 to 1949, among them stellar examples of Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, and Craftsman bungalow architectural styles.


    Related: 7 Things Your Lawn May Be Trying to Tell You

    Flickr via garibaldirealty

  3. Indianapolis, Indiana

    Lockerbie-square-indianapolis-in

    Ask Hoosiers where to explore the history of Indianapolis, and they might point you to Lockerbie Square. Here, architectural sightseers can wander the oldest neighborhood in the city and admire Federal, Italianate, and Queen Anne-style homes dating from 1855 to 1930. After the history lesson, entertain yourself at the theaters, art galleries, and eateries in one of Indianapolis's six cultural districts.


    Related: 7 Ways to Trace Your Home's History

    Flickr via mobilene

  4. Washington, D.C.

    Dupont-circle-dc

    Nestled in the northwest of our nation’s capital is Dupont Circle, a cosmopolitan neighborhood lined with shops, restaurants, and stunning turn-of-the-century architecture. The Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque row houses that grace the area were built from the 1880s to 1910 and can claim many famous politicians and dignitaries as former residents.


    Related: 7 Fall Fix-Ups to Do for a Winter-Ready Home

    Flickr via ncindc

  5. Knoxville, Tennessee

    Knoxville-tn

    The National Register homes in this Tennessee town trace its evolution from frontier settlement to streetcar suburb. Old North Knoxville, a prominent historic neighborhood, features Queen Anne, Craftsman, American Foursquare, Colonial Revival, and Neoclassical-style homes dating from 1880 to 1920. Plus, plentiful sidewalks lined with shady trees make it an easy walk from this venerable neighborhood to the lively restaurants and shops downtown.


    Related: 8 Exterior Paint Colors to Help Sell Your House

    Flickr via brent_nashville

  6. Galena, Illinois

    Galena-il

    Galena may be small, but it offers a lot for historic home lovers to appreciate. The Galena Historic District, which comprises 85 percent of the town, is home to residences in the Federalist, Greek Revival, Second Empire, Queen Anne, and Italianate styles, all constructed before 1900. The most famous of these may be the Italianate brick home of Ulysses S. Grant.


    Related: 10 Ways to Buy Better Curb Appeal Under $50

    Flickr via Grace & Jeff Safrin

  7. Eureka, California

    Eureka-ca

    A self-guided tour of this former Gold Rush town offers a scenic trek back to the turn of the century. Wander down Hillside Street to find Queen Anne and Eastlake-style homes dating from 1880 to 1920. Or, stop by the Carson Mansion in Old Town to get a glimpse of one of the most photographed Victorian homes in America.


    Related: 7 Pretty House Colors That Scare Buyers Away

    airbnb.com

  8. Providence, Rhode Island

    Providence-ri

    Perhaps better known for its historic lighthouses, Providence is also home to some of the oldest houses in Colonial America. Old house buffs should seek out the fine specimens from the late 1600s to the late 1800s that span the Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Second Empire, and Queen Anne styles, and lend the city a centuries-old charm.


    Related: Harbor Homes: 6 Lighthouses You Can Live In

    airbnb.com

  9. Hartford, Connecticut

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    This pleasant Connecticut community was once home to legendary writers Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Though these famous Hartford denizens are long gone, a wonderful collection of historic homes remains. Built from the early 1700s to the mid-20th century, and in styles as diverse as classical Georgian and eclectic Colonial Revival, the old residences give Hartford its unique New England charm.


    Related: 10 Fast-Growing Plants for (Almost) Instant Curb Appeal

    airbnb.com

  10. New Hope, Pennsylvania

    New-hope-pa

    Venture to this Bucks County borough on the Delaware River to soak up the vibrant theater scene and steal glances at historic homes with waterfront views. The New Hope Village District is home to 202 National Register houses in Georgian, Federal, and late Victorian styles. Constructed in the mid-18th through late 19th century, these old buildings are no less striking today.


    Related: 9 Ways to Reduce Exterior Home Maintenance—for GOOD (Almost)!

    airbnb.com

  11. Lynchburg, Virginia

    Lynchburg-va-2

    Once called the "most interesting spot in the state" by Thomas Jefferson, Lynchburg offers many architectural marvels. The city's four historic districts boast Federal, Greek Revival, Second Empire, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival homes built between the early 1800s and 1900s, giving downtown Lynchburg its old-town appeal.


    Related: Better Your Builder-Grade Home with 12 Old-House Details

    Zillow Digs home in Lynchburg, VA

  12. Washington, Georgia

    Tupperhouse

    Founded in 1780 as a frontier fortification, Washington and its antebellum edifices have remained true to the city's Revolution-era roots. Greek Revival plantations and mansions dating from the turn of the 19th century to the early 1900s have been well preserved for future residents.


    Related: 7 Creative Guest Houses You Can Actually Afford

    washingtonwilkes.org

  13. Georgetown, Texas

    Georgetown-tx

    While "Keep Austin Weird" is the moniker of its southerly neighbor, Georgetown's plan seems to be to keep its city historic. Local ordinances that prevent commercial developments from encroaching on historic residences have allowed visitors to continue to revel in the striking Gothic Revival, Second Empire, and Queen Anne-style homes built in the region between 1860 and 1915.


    Related: 14 of the Best Plants for Your Drought-Tolerant Garden

    georgetown-texas.org

  14. Boulder, Colorado

    Mapleton-hill-boulder-co

    The largest of 10 historic districts in Boulder, Mapleton Hill also boasts the most ornate historic properties, more than half of which were built before 1910. These include Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque, Shingle Style, and Colonial Revival homes.


    Related: 22 Tiny Houses We Love

    vrbo.com

  15. Cheyenne, Wyoming

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    Locals may joke that there are more cattle than people in Cheyenne, but this jewel in the former Wild West also has an abundance of historic homes and other buildings. The Lakeview Historic District encompasses homes built between 1880 and 1930. Pre-1900 constructions include Queen Anne and Italianate-style homes, while bungalows and American Foursquare-style homes dominate the early 20th century constructions.


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    Zillow Digs home in Cheyenne, WY

  16. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

    Portsmouth-nh

    It’s easy to see why so many people flock to Portsmouth, named one of the best places to live by Money magazine. The city boasts four colleges, acres of gardens and parks, and charming homes from yesteryear. You'll find some of the most interesting homes, including Colonial Revival cottages and Cape Cods, in the Atlantic Heights neighborhood, developed from 1918 to 1920, near the Piscataqua River.


    Related: Memory Lane: 15 Household Items From Your Childhood That New Houses Will Never See

    Flickr via snowboarder2k

  17. Bisbee, Arizona

    Bisbee-az

    This former copper mining town in the Southwest continues to prove its mettle as a heritage site through a collection of historic homes steeped in tradition. The meandering streets of the Bisbee Residential Historic District are filled with Queen Anne and Craftsman-style homes built between the 1880s and late 1920s, though visitors can also enjoy a small sampling of bungalows and American Foursquare-style homes.


    Related: 16 Weirdly Awesome Summer Vacation Rentals on Airbnb

    en.wikipedia.org

  18. Reno, Nevada

    Reno-nv

    Far from the glitter and glitz of Las Vegas, southwest Reno offers scenic views of vintage homes along the Truckee River. In Newland Heights, one of the oldest land developments in the city, Colonial Revival and French chateau-style homes coexist with Spanish Colonial Revival and Craftsman bungalows built primarily between the 1920s and 1940s. If you're looking to buy, there are deals to be had in the current buyer’s market.


    Related: 8 Tiny Homes You Can Buy for the Price of a Luxury Car

    Zillow Digs home in Reno, NV

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