Did President Grant Visit and Stay in Lincoln?

Pres. Grant as he looked in 1871 several months before his alleged visit to Lincoln.

We'd like to thank Barker Business Services and Penobscot Valley Hospital for sponsoring our history page!

Monday, January 30, 2007 was Lincoln’s 178th official birthday. On January 30, 1829, by legislative authority, Lincoln’s name was changed from "Mattanawcook" to "Lincoln" and incorporated as the 284th town in Maine.

This school house clock from the 1890's was recently donated to The Lincoln Historical Society by Jim & Tena Vose. It will be on the wall of the "Little Red School House" which is in the process of being renovated. It's a welcome addition we're sure!

Did President Ulysses S. Grant visit Lincoln on 1871? And, did he stay at the "Lincoln House" during his visit? The answer is yes, no, and maybe!!

On October 17, 1871, President Grant reportedly "zipped through Portsmouth, New Hampshire by train, on his way to Maine". It was described as a "whistlestop trip". The president had been invited to Bangor, Maine for a 2-day celebration on October 18 and 19, for the opening of the European and North American Railway Company in Bangor. The railroad tracks were completed in 1869. Now, after his stay in Bangor, did he travel to Lincoln? And, if so, why? And if he did, how long did he stay (in Bangor AND Lincoln)??

Well, we don't know for certain. He was still president so he had his duties to perform, but he may have also wanted a short vacation AND it was hunting season up here. We do have proof however - sort of - that President Grant did actually come AND stay in Lincoln!

Tom Burr is the son of the former Lincoln House owner Robert J. Burr, who owned the hotel/motel from shortly after WWII until 1963. He recently wrote us that he can remember seeing the Hotel Register that showed President Grant had signed in to stay at the hotel in 1871!!! Unfortunately, the original Hotel Register is long lost and no copies of it exist, as far as we know. So, we just have Tom's memory to go by BUT he would really have no reason to make the story up.

So there you have it. President Grant was 45 miles away in Bangor for up to two days in 1871. That we know. We have the son of a former owner of the local hotel who says he saw the original hotel register with the president's name in it. What do you think? If and when we get further information on this interesting story, we'll publish it here. Until then, well, your guess is as good as ours, but I'm leaning towards him having stayed in Lincoln, Maine - at least one night!

-Lee Rand

This photo of Thornton Brothers car dealership was taken in the late 1970s, a few years after their opening.

The Lincoln Historical Society maintains a museum on West Broadway. Its purpose is "to discover, procure and preserve whatever may relate to the natural, civil, literary and ecclesiastical history of the United States in general and to the State of Maine and the Town of Lincoln, Maine in particular, and to establish and maintain collections in art and archaeology". Meetings are held the last Tuesday of the month from January to November. Social time begins at 6:30 with the meeting following at 6:45. Membership fees are $3 per year and $1 for senior citizens.

If you have any questions, call Jeanette King at 794-8996 or Lawrence Sturgeon at 794-8223.

There are also active historical societies in neighboring Lee and Burlington.

Those Were the Days!

These images show the price of gasoline during a "gas war" in Lincoln long, long ago. Can you imagine paying these prices today?

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A little snowmobile history

This 1963 Ski-Doo is owned by the Lincoln Historical Society. It was first sold to Jim McFarland by Lincoln Sport Shop. The other three sleds sold that year were bought by Warren Bates, Sonny Martin and Floyd Libby. This sled was resold to Rodney Milner, Brian Moore, and finally to Paul Ouellette. Paul purchased "Old Jim" with the intention of restoring it with his dad, Joe Ouellette.

Early History of Christmas in Maine/Massachusetts

The earliest historical mention of Christmas we can find was 16 years before the Mayflower landed in North America. In 1604 French settlers on St. Croix Island, off the Maine coast, held religious services and spent most of the day playing "games".

The Puritans of New England found no biblical precedent for celebrating Christ’s birthday on December 25th, or any other day, and they felt that too much secular feasting and mirth accompanied a day that, if marked at all, should be a religious observance only. Christmas was not the only holiday dispensed with in Puritan New England. Easter, May Day and a host of other popular English celebrations were deliberately left behind as well.

But by the 1870s, more and more New Englanders, and their descendents across the country, were observing Christmas. The strict Protestantism of early New England gradually relaxed through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and so did the prohibition on Christmas celebrations. New, attractive, and largely secular aspects of the holiday, like Santa Claus, stockings hung by the chimney, and Christmas trees took hold in the popular imagination. Elsewhere in the country, Episcopalians and Catholics had observed Christmas continuously, and European immigrants from countries like Germany, that had strong Christmas traditions, had kept the holiday flourishing. New Englanders were drawn in slowly, and by the nineteenth century’s end, most Christians observed some form of the Christmas holiday, complete with a dinner menu remarkably similar to Thanksgiving’s.

We hope to find written accounts of Christmas in Lincoln in its early days. If and when we do, we'll post the information on this web site, probably not this year but for next Christmas. Anyone with any historical information is welcome to e-mail it to us at [email protected].

These photos show some of the exhibits in the Lincoln Historical Society's museum. In the photo below, the society's hard work has made possible a park across from the Library on West Broadway. The one-room Webber's Mill Scbool has been moved around the area quite a bit, and has seen service as a grocery store and a credit union as well as a school.
Some interesting tidbits about Lincoln:

The town was named for former Governor Enoch Lincoln, not President Abraham Lincoln. There were only about 400 people living here when it was incorporated in 1829.

A 1793 survey map by Maynard and Holland calls the stream running through Lincoln Mordenarcooch Stream. Another survey map from 1822 names it Matenorcook. In a letter written by Moses Greenleaf in 1823, the spelling is Madanaukook. Six years later, Mr. Greenleaf changed the spelling to Mattanawcook*. The Abnakis used the word Mattanawcook to mean “lake that ends almost at the river.” Another translation of Mattanawcook means “small, broken islands.”

*The local high school is named Mattanawcook Academy.

The old Primary School was located on School Street in Lincoln. It was demolished to make way for an apartment complex. Did you attend the Primary School? How about sharing a class picture with our viewers? Send it to us as a JPEG, or call us at 794-8071 if you live in this area and would like to bring it to us for scanning. Please give us as much information as you can about the photo.

At one time, fox farms in Lincoln raised the animals for their fur. This tower is all that remains of one of these farms. It is located on Route 2 in South Lincoln. The slate tombstones in the foreground date from the 1830s. This old cemetery is in Lincoln Center. If you're interested in genealogy, click here for links to information on local cemeteries.

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This building in Lincoln Center once housed Howard Annis' store, where you could buy an ice cream cone or a wedge of sharp cheddar cut from a big wheel. Photo courtesy of Ida Whitney.

If you have any old photos of the greater Lincoln area that you would like to share on this site, please e-mail us.

This wonderful old photo, provided to us courtesy of Ida Whitney, shows Lincoln from the dam on Mattanawcook Lake. The year is unknown, but no electrical wires are visible and boardwalks served as sidewalks. Notice that the street had not yet been paved. Also visible are some of the elm trees that once lined the streets of town before the Dutch elm disease hit the area.

This award-winning photo by Lee Rand shows the old Nelson Sweet house on the Lee Road. We don't know when the house was built, but Mr. Sweet was born in 1835 and died in 1925. The chimney has toppled since the photo was taken. There are many older homes in Lincoln, and some from the 1820s are still occupied today.

Two brothers, Asa and Nehemiah Kneeland, came from Harrison, Maine in 1823 and settled on Fish Hill on what they named the Jameson Farm. One or two of their brothers served in the Revolutionary War. The Kneelands have been traced back to King Alexander of Scotland in 1225!! Nehemiah later moved to Topsfield where he named the town after their original home in Massachusetts. Asa moved to Half Township. His children and grandchildren are buried in the Half Township Cemetery. Asa? Probably there too, but no one knows for sure! Steve and Jim Kneeland, as well as Lee Rand, all of whom live in Lincoln today, are their direct descendants.

Click here for links to information on those buried in local cemeteries.

Many of Lincoln's original families have descendants living here today. Are any of the early settlers in your family tree?

In 1950, a bridge was built over the Penobscot River connecting Lincoln Center with Chester. Before that, a ferry was available to carry passengers and their vehicles across the river. Here you can see the ferry beside the bridge that would take its place. Photo courtesy of Ida Whitney.

This house on Ayer Street in Lincoln once belonged to Harold (Hadd) Kneeland and his wife, Faith.

Baseball great Ted Williams poses in front of the Bon Ton on Main St. in Lincoln with a Miss Greater Lincoln (identity uncertain) circa early/mid 1950s. The local consensus was that the girl was Muriel Applebee from the Howland/Enfield area. But, we now have irrefutable proof she IS NOT the girl with him in this photo. So, we're back to square one! If anyone has any information about this photo or the girl, please e-mail us. Thanks! The negative is long gone, and as far as we know, there is only one print still in existence - ours.

The Mohawk Road cemetery, above , and the Transalpine cemetery, below, are the final resting place of many of Lincoln's early residents. One of the graves in the Transalpine cemetery dates from 1833! Perhaps these old cemeteries can provide information to help you discover your family tree.

The older part of Lincoln's cemetery is an interesting place to look for family information. Those whose ancestors lived here may be able to find where they were buried. Click here for information on those buried in this cemetery.

Lincoln's cemetery is beautifully maintained, in loving memory of those who spent their days here, building the community as they lived their lives.

DanaRae Pelletier of Lowell has provided the information listed on the gravestones in many area cemeteries. Click here for links to all her pages.

Lincoln had its own radio station, started by Frank Delle, for many years. WLKN was located on School St. when it began in the mid-sixties. In 1975, Delle added WLKN-FM and both were broadcast from Park Avenue. It closed for good in July of 1995. This staff photo was taken in late 1985.
Wish you could see the pictures on this page in more detail? Try clicking on the photo.
November, 1985. WLKN staff:

Randy Currier, Kathy Jack, Leslie Robbins, Lee Rand, Jenny Mallet, and Richard Gammon.

To advertise on this page, contact Rand Advertising at 794-8071 or e-mail us.

To shop in our online store, click here!

Twelve years ago (July 1995) the Lincoln radio station located on Park Avenue went off the air for good. The building that housed the studios is still standing although it's been modified over the years.

Local history can be a fascinating subject. If you have a question about Lincoln's history, contact the Lincoln Historical Society (see contact info at the top of this page). You can also visit the Lincoln Memorial Library on West Broadway.

These photos of the old WLKN radio station on Park Avenue in Lincoln were taken about 1965, and were sent to us by Marc Delle, son of station founder Frank Delle.

Marc Delle also sent us these photos of the former WLKN studio on School Street next to his family's home. Visible in the background of the black and white photos is the Lakeview Laundromat.

This photo, courtesy of Peter Lyons of the Lincoln Color Center, was taken in 1978 when the store was located on Main Street in Lincoln

Ticket courtesy of Lee Rand

If you have an old photo you would like to share with us, we'd love to hear from you! Send us an e-mail.
The wonderful old car shown above belongs to David Worcester. The parking permit sticker on the windshield (photo at left) is from the 1940s, and entitled the driver to park at the Eastern Fine Paper mill (now Lincoln Paper & Tissue)
At left is Cliff Barker's 1923 model-T Ford, bought in 1944 for $100. Maximum speed was 40 mph! He's had it in the Burlington 4th of July parade every year since 1978. The picture is circa 1944. On the right is Cliff in his car shortly after it was purchased. In the rear seat are his brother Bruce, Chester Clark and Cliff's dog Trixie.  Standing behind the car are Cliff's father Perry Barker and Paul Clark. Cliff drove the car for two years prior to entering the Army Air Force in 1946 and putting the car into storage. It was removed from storage in 1969 when Cliff retired from the US Air Force.
In January of 2002, two fires on Main Street destroyed four buildings housing 10 businesses (about 25 percent of the downtown business district). The fires happened only three days apart. This photo shows the ruins of the Lake Mall after one of the fires.

This photo was taken in March of 1993.

The original Mattanawcook Academy, year unknown.

Will Kneeland, child?, and Bertha Kneeland outside their home on High Street in Lincoln. Year unknown

The Lincoln House Hotel on Main St. in Lincoln, year unknown. For more photos of the Lincoln House, click here.

Army Ranger MSG Gary Gordon of Lincoln received the nation's highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor. MSG Gordon was killed in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993. Read more about MSG Gordon here.Army Ranger MSG Gary Gordon of Lincoln received the nation's highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor. MSG Gordon was killed in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993. Read more about MSG Gordon here.

Once upon a time in America, students would view something like this on their teachers' desks . . .

We have received a lot of interesting old photos. We'll be scanning them as time permits and adding them to our history section. Take a look at the first few here!

We'd like to thank Barker Business Services and Penobscot Valley Hospital for sponsoring our history page!

This aerial photo of Lincoln was taken in October of 1994 by Connie Rand.