Historic Downtown Lincoln

In the 1850s, Theodore Judah, an engineer for the Central California Railroad heard that the railroad was going to be built to the base of the Sierra Foothills in order to move supplies to the gold mining areas. Thinking he was making a wise investment, he bought the land around the area for $600. When the railroad plans were canceled he sold the property to Colonel Charles "Lincoln" Wilson, president of the railroad. Wilson immediately planned out the town of "Lincoln" and began selling lots.

Lincoln became a recognized town in 1859. Many buildings date back to the 1860-1900s. These buildings are now the sites of restaurants, shops and services.

By the early 1870 a fine quality of clay was discovered around Lincoln attracting Charles Gladding, a sanitation contractor who had moved out from Chicago to begin work on the sewer system of San Francisco. By 1875, Gladding, Peter McBean and George Chambers had raised $12,000 in gold to buy land and build a sewer pipe manufacturing plant. They later added architectural terra cotta providing the decorative elements for most of the buildings in San Francisco.

Extensive use of Gladding McBean architectural terra cotta has been used in both old and new construction in Lincoln. Lincoln is the home of America's ClayFest, an international juried ceramic art show. Tours of the show and of Gladding McBean, one of the oldest continuously operating manufacturers on the West Coast, are held of April through May each year. Other fun events are held throughout the year in downtown Lincoln's Beerman Plaza.

The historic downtown area is a great place to walk around and absorb the more than 150 year history of Lincoln. There are many restaurants and shops to visit. A self guided tour and antique picture book of Historic Downtown Lincoln ($10) is available from the Lincoln Area Archives and Museum, 472 E Street -(916) 253-9972; Sierra Hills Framing, Ste B, 531 G Street (916) 645-1644; The Place! Gallery, 505 G Street, (916) 434-0505. Part of the proceeds go to the Lincoln Area Archives and Museum.

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Latitude: 38.889197 Longitude: -121.290312 Elevation: 168 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Jean Cross - Art League of Lincoln

Getting Here and Getting Around

Take I-80 from East or West to Roseville. North on Hwy. 65 10 miles to Lincoln. Exit on Lincoln Blvd and turn right to 3rd Street brings you directly to Historic Downtown Lincoln.( 3rd to 7th Streets x H to E Streets)

The Historic Downtown District is about 8 square blocks and is best appreciated by walking.

There are public parking lots at 6th Street between G Street (Hwy.65) and F Street, F Street between 6th & 7th Streets, E Street between 4th and 5th as well as curbside parking around town.

Pet Friendly Notes

Well behaved pets are welcomed downtown.


Wonderful to see the old Methodist church is still being used, The Library and Of course the renovations to Jansen's Warehouse My Dad Charlie McFarland worked for Walter and Jerry for 20 plus years. I was born in Sacramento Memorial Hospt and raised in Lincoln. Went to school there. Graduated High School 1960. Lived on first street a block south of the then elementary school. Four lots east of the highway. then 307 J street , corner of third and jay. from freshman high school till we moved after my dads death.

Wes McFarland, 8/8/2013

Looking to find the old Pritchard home in Lincoln built and owned by Charles Edward Pritchard. I believe it was on the west side of old 65 just passed the rail road tracks. I believe the home was built in the early 1900s. I have pictures of the home from before 1936. I saw the home in the 1960s, my dad Alfred Newton Pritchard wanted me to see where he was born and lived in (1915). Lincoln at that time (1960s) was very small and the house at that time was on a dirt road. I’m thinking it was somewhere around 1st and 3rd streets just west of the rail road tracks. It was a smaller wood framed house with a small barn in the rear of the lot. One picture I have from the 1930s shows no other homes close by. Any info would be great. Thank you.

Lee Pritchard , 12/29/2014

to: Lee Pritchard I may have just purchased the home that you are talking about. It is located at 240 H Street and built in 1890. If this is the house you are looking for, I would love to have any information that you have regarding it's history and ownership. Please contact me at blossom.2002@netzero.net Thank you, Pamela Wharton

Pamela Wharton, 11/3/2015

Pamela Wharton I just saw your post .. I will be sending you an email ... Thank you

Lee Pritchard, 8/16/2016

Any information on the homes on C and 6th street would be awesome. My sister just purchased a cute house on the corner and as it is her first home, any history would be welcome!

Michelle , 3/5/2019

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