The county commissioners had the town laid out as the county seat in 1845. The grid system was composed of square blocks, with one of the center blocks reserved for the future county courthouse. By the 1870s Albia was the crossroads of several railroads, and coal mining was well under way. Extensive restorations and renovations of buildings have taken place within the community since the mid-1980s, especially in the commercial structures surrounding the courthouse square.
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