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Lincoln, New Hampshire
Main Street (NH Route 112)
Main Street (NH Route 112)
Official seal of Lincoln, New Hampshire
Location in Grafton County, New Hampshire
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Grafton
Incorporated 1764
 • Total 131.0 sq mi (339.3 km2)
 • Land 130.5 sq mi (337.9 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.4 km2)  0.43%
811 ft (247 m)
 • Total 1,631
 • Density 12/sq mi (4.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-41860
GNIS feature ID 0873646

Lincoln is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. It is the second-largest town by area in New Hampshire. The population was 1,631 at the 2020 census. The town is home to the New Hampshire Highland Games and to a portion of Franconia Notch State Park. Set in the White Mountains, large portions of the town are within the White Mountain National Forest. The Appalachian Trail crosses the western and northeastern parts of the town. Lincoln is the location of Loon Mountain Ski Resort and associated recreation-centered development.

The primary settlement in town, where 969 people resided at the 2020 census, is defined as the Lincoln census-designated place (CDP) and is located along New Hampshire Route 112 east of Interstate 93. The town also includes the former village sites of Stillwater and Zealand (sometimes known as Pullman) in the town's remote eastern and northern sections respectively, which are now within the White Mountain National Forest.


General View of Lincoln, NH
General view c. 1915

In 1764, Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth granted 32,456 acres (131.34 km2) to a group of approximately 70 land investors from Connecticut. Lincoln was named after Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle, 9th Earl of Lincoln – a cousin of the Wentworth governors. He held the position of comptroller of customs for the port of London under George II and George III, which was important to trade between America and England.

The town was settled about 1782. The 1790 census indicates that it had 22 inhabitants. Rocky soil yielded poor farming, but the area's abundant timber, combined with water power to run sawmills on the Pemigewasset River and its East Branch, helped Lincoln develop into a center for logging. By 1853, the Merrimack River Lumber Company was operating. The railroad transported freight, and increasingly brought tourists to the beautiful mountain region. In 1892, James E. Henry bought approximately 100,000 acres (400 km2) of virgin timber and established a logging enterprise at what is today the center of Lincoln. In 1902, he built a pulp and paper mill. He erected The Lincoln House hotel in 1903, although a 1907 fire would nearly raze the community. Until he died in 1912, Henry controlled his company town, installing relatives in positions of civic authority.

In 1917, Henry's heirs sold the business to the Parker Young Company, which in turn sold it to the Marcalus Manufacturing Company in 1946. Franconia Paper took over in 1950, producing 150 tons of paper a day until bankruptcy in 1971, at which time new river classification standards discouraged further papermaking in Lincoln.

Tourism is today the principal business. Nearby Loon Mountain has long drawn skiers, and in recent years has attempted to convert itself into a four-season attraction. The Flume is one of the most visited attractions in the state. Discovered in 1808, it is a natural canyon extending 800 feet (240 m) at the base of Mount Liberty. Walls of Conway granite rise to a height of 70 to 90 feet (21 to 27 m) and are only 12 to 20 feet (2.5 to 6.0 m) apart.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 130.9 square miles (339.0 km2), of which 130.3 square miles (337.5 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) is water, comprising 0.43% of the town. It is the second-largest town in area in New Hampshire, after Pittsburg.

Lincoln is drained by the Pemigewasset River and its East Branch. Lincoln lies almost fully within the Merrimack River watershed, with the western edge of town in the Connecticut River watershed. Kancamagus Pass, elevation 2,860 feet (870 m), is on the Kancamagus Highway at the eastern boundary. The highest point in Lincoln is either the summit of Mount Carrigain, at 4,700 ft (1,433 m) above sea level, plus or minus 10 ft (3.0 m), or the summit of Mount Bond at 4,698 ft (1,432 m).


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 22
1800 41 86.4%
1810 100 143.9%
1820 32 −68.0%
1830 50 56.3%
1840 76 52.0%
1850 57 −25.0%
1860 71 24.6%
1870 71 0.0%
1880 65 −8.5%
1890 110 69.2%
1900 541 391.8%
1910 1,278 136.2%
1920 1,473 15.3%
1930 1,548 5.1%
1940 1,560 0.8%
1950 1,415 −9.3%
1960 1,228 −13.2%
1970 1,341 9.2%
1980 1,313 −2.1%
1990 1,229 −6.4%
2000 1,271 3.4%
2010 1,662 30.8%
2020 1,631 −1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
The Flume, Franconia Notch, NH
The Flume c. 1915

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,662 people, 794 households, and 439 families residing in the town. There were 2,988 housing units, of which 2,194, or 73.4%, were vacant. 2,083 of the vacant units were for seasonal or recreational use. The racial makeup of the town was 96.9% white, 0.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.3% some other race, and 0.6% from two or more races. 1.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 794 households, 21.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were headed by married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.4% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09, and the average family size was 2.75.

In the town, 18.7% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.8% were from 18 to 24, 19.4% from 25 to 44, 34.8% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.3 males.

For the period 2011–2015, the estimated median annual income for a household was $37,095, and the median income for a family was $55,326. Male full-time workers had a median income of $31,106 versus $27,381 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,109. 21.0% of the population and 9.1% of families were below the poverty line. 20.2% of the population under the age of 18 and 8.6% of those 65 or older were living in poverty.

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