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Lincolnton, North Carolina
"History, Arts, Culture...They All Find A Home In Lincolnton!"
Location of Lincolnton, North Carolina
Location of Lincolnton, North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Lincoln
Named for Benjamin Lincoln
 • Total 8.2 sq mi (21.2 km2)
 • Land 8.2 sq mi (21.2 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
856 ft (261 m)
 • Total 10,683
 • Density 1,219.4/sq mi (470.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 704
FIPS code 37-38320
GNIS feature ID 1021154
Website Lincolnton, North Carolina

Lincolnton is a small city in Lincoln County, North Carolina, United States, within the Charlotte metropolitan area. The population was 10,683 at the 2010 census. Lincolnton is northwest of Charlotte, on the South Fork of the Catawba River. The junction of State Highway 27 and U.S. Route 321 is located nearby. The city is the county seat of Lincoln County, and is the only legally incorporated municipality wholly within the rural county.


Schenck Mill Lincolnton North Carolina 1813
Lincoln Cotton Mills, built 1813.
10-year-old factory worker in Lincolnton, 1908

This area was long occupied by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. It was not settled extensively by European Americans until after the American Revolutionary War of the late 18th century.

In June 1780 during the war, the future site of Lincolnton was the site of the Battle of Ramsour's Mill, a small engagement in which local Loyalists were defeated by pro-independence forces among the British colonists. Some historians consider the battle significant because it disrupted Loyalist organizing in the region at a crucial time.

After the Revolution, the legislature organized a new county by splitting this area from old Tryon County (named in the colonial era for a royally appointed governor). The 1780 battle site was chosen for the seat of Lincoln County. The new city and the county were named for Major General Benjamin Lincoln, who served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

The Piedmont area was developed for industry, based on using the water power of the fall line. With the advantage of the Catawba River, Lincolnton was the site of the first textile mill built in North Carolina, constructed by Michael Schenck in 1813. It was the first cotton mill built south of the Potomac River. Cotton processing became a major industry in the area. St. Luke's Episcopal Church was founded in 1841.

Most of the Civil War battles took place elsewhere but Lincoln County men fought for the Confederacy. Among them was Confederate Major General Stephen Dodson Ramseur, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Cedar Creek in the final year of the Civil War. He came from Lincolnton and his body was returned there for burial. Confederate Missionary Bishop Henry C. Lay spent the final months of the Civil War in the town. In the closing months of the war, Union forces occupied Lincoln County on Easter Monday, 1865.

As county seat and a center of the textile industry, city residents prospered on the returns from cotton cultivation. The city has numerous properties, including churches, which have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since the late 20th century. It has three recognized historic districts: Lincolnton Commercial Historic District, South Aspen Street Historic District, and West Main Street Historic District. These were centers of the earliest businesses and retail activities. There was much activity around the Lincoln County Courthouse on court days, when farmers typically came to town to trade and sell their goods.

Residences, churches and other notable buildings marked the development of the city; they include the Caldwell-Cobb-Love House, Emanuel United Church of Christ, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Eureka Manufacturing Company Cotton Mill, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, Methodist Church Cemetery, Lincolnton Recreation Department Youth Center, Loretz House, Old White Church Cemetery, Pleasant Retreat Academy, Shadow Lawn, St. Luke's Church and Cemetery, and Woodside.

In 1986, Lincolnton expanded by annexing the town of Boger City.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21 km2), of which, 8.2 square miles (21 km2) of it is land and 0.12% is water.


The city has grown since 1980, as part of the Charlotte metropolitan area expansion, and as a destination for immigrants.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 848
1870 886 4.5%
1880 708 −20.1%
1890 957 35.2%
1900 828 −13.5%
1910 2,413 191.4%
1920 3,300 36.8%
1930 3,781 14.6%
1940 4,525 19.7%
1950 5,423 19.8%
1960 5,699 5.1%
1970 5,293 −7.1%
1980 4,879 −7.8%
1990 6,847 40.3%
2000 9,965 45.5%
2010 10,486 5.2%
Est. 2015 10,900 3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 10,683 people, 38,948 households, and 2,943 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,219.4 people per square mile (470.9/km²). There were 4,146 housing units at an average density of 507.4 per square mile (195.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.98% White, 24.49% African American, 0.41% Asian, 0.33% Native American, 4.15% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.87% of the population.

There were 3,878 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,684, and the median income for a family was $39,949. Males had a median income of $29,615 versus $21,768 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,667. About 14.4% of families and 17.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.

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