Noble County was organized in 1836 by an act of the Indiana legislature and named for James Noble, who served two terms in the U.S. Senate from 1816-1831.
Its first county seat was located on the Fort Wayne-Goshen trail (today's U.S. 33), at that time the county's main thoroughfare. For various reasons the county seat was subsequently moved eastward to tiny settlements at Augusta (1843), Port Mitchell a year later and to a permanent home at Albion in a modest two-story frame structure in 1847.
This building was destroyed by fire in 1859 and replaced on the same public square by a brick building in 1860, which served until 1887, by which time it had become dilapidated and too small to serve the needs of the growing county government. In 1889, the current Richardson Romanesque-style building which dominates the square today was built. It serves as the county's seat of justice with assorted offices in and near the town, which currently has a population of approximately 2000.
The Old Jail, now owned and maintained by the Noble County Historical Society was built in 1876 one block west of the courthouse. On occasion a sheriff's deputy would holler from an open second-floor window in the courthouse for someone in the jail to bring over "so-and-so" for a courtroom appearance.
In the 165 years of its existence Albion has experienced a modest growth in population. In 1874 it became a stop on the newly-installed Baltimore & Ohil Railroad. This led to the establishment of an industrial park whose major occupants were a foundry and a buggy factory, later followed by a lumberyard and grain elevators.
B & O service--passenger and freight--virtually ceased in the 1950's and today the only reminder of those times is the clatter of long lines of CSX coal cars passing through town.
At its peak Couthouse Square and surrounding blocks boasted an Opera House (still standing, but empty), law offices, a large variety of retail stores, livery stables--succeeded by service stations. At one time or another the town boasted a movie theater, a sweet shop, jewelry store, pharmacy, doctors and dentists, shoe store, barbershops--just to name a few.
Albion of course retained the courthouse--which has been wonderfully maintained and a sizeable jail facility east of town as well as a busy industrial park and a weekly newspaper.
But courthouse square and its adjoining blocks included a number of "For Rent" and "For Sale" signs. There are some indications of downtown renewal--a bustling hardware store and a handsome bed & breafast for example--but many feel a lack of business and few entertainment options. One goal of the S.T.A.R. Team is to reverse these trends and encourage the community to look back at what downtown used to be like and envision what it could be like in the near future.
The narrative written by Robert Gagen Jr.