Early New Albany Development
The history of New Albany, Ohio begins in the early 1800s. A Mr. Dudly Woodridge received a tract of land for the price of 4000 gallons of whiskey. The land was already designated as Township 1. The first residents built a cabin near the Rocky Fork Creek by cutting through the woods.
The land was originally home to several bands of Indians. Ohio became a state one year after Woodridge received his land. At that time, several hundred Indians were still living on the land.
The area was settled on flat land near the creek. Because it was flat, the pioneers who began settling there called it Plain Township. The city of New Albany was founded in the middle of the township a few decades later in 1837.
No one is sure where the name New Albany came from, but those who speculate believe it had to do with the number of settlers arriving from Albany, New York. A few years into its inhabitance, a cemetery was built as were a few school house cabins. Churches did not exist until 1836 but services were always available from traveling ministers. The first Church was constructed by the United Brethren.
By the late 1820s, a lumber mill was constructed. This would prove to be the hub of the community’s business and commerce. The business grew and by the late 1800s, the Wilkins Lumber Mill was built. It was later called the New Albany Mill. Other businesses developed to include dry goods stores, restaurants, hotels, boot makers and barbers.
The Board of Health was developed following a Diphtheria Epidemic in 1892. Doctors were then available to serve the 300 people living in the village.
1900’s in New Albany
By the turn of the century, telephones and gas lines were laid. Cars were introduced and were made to share the road with horses. Horses used the dirt side of the road. Cars used the gravel side.
The community flourished. By the mid-1900s, a volunteer Fire Department was established. A special building was constructed to house the fire equipment. The Fire Department became a full-time professional outfit in the 1990s. It was then that a fire station was built. Liquor sales at two new bars were legalized in the mid-1900s.
The city’s modern sub-divisions which are the hallmark today of the community’s high-livability ranking were developed in the 1960s. New sidewalks were also added.
In 1988, some townspeople petitioned for a merger with the Plain Township. It never went through, and New Albany remains the town it is today even though it is part of a small section of Plain Township. It is near the large city of Columbus but does not touch upon it.
Founders Day is a celebration that is still observed. The first day was celebrated in 1976. The town remained small in population. Only several hundred were counted in the census of 1980. Today, the population is still under 10,000, and the sense of community and pride is as alive as ever.
Beginning of New Albany’s Growth
Growth of the area began in the 1990s. The highways nearby were being reconfigured and now make up a set of four main highways that are easily accessible from New Albany. This makes it an ideal community to live and commute to Columbus from.
By 2003 Plain Township Aquatic Center opened. This is one of the main features of the town with two water slides, an 8-lane pool, fountains and a special area for kids to play. It is over 7 acres in size and it helps the community members socialize and keep healthy. This is just one other aspect of the community that makes it highly desirable to live in.
It was not until 2008 when the New Albany Mill closed. The original mill was then converted into a hardware store. The residents still use it as one of the main staples for supplies in the town. A year later, scandal rocked New Albany. This is when national headlines were made by a young woman name Fathima Rifqa Bary.
A Muslim who converted to Christianity ran away from New Albany and her parents. She claimed her parents were trying to kill her. The story was denounced by the parents as being untrue and the scandal died down. Still, New Albany is listed as one of the best places to live and raise a family due to its cost of living factors and amenities.