Lincolnton, the seat of Lincoln County, is located in northeast Georgia near the Savannah River, approximately thirty-five miles northwest of Augusta and sixty-five miles east of Athens. The only municipality in Lincoln County, Lincolnton is situated at the intersection of U.S. highway 378 and Georgia highways 43 and 47. The shoreline of Clarks Hill Lake is just a few miles from downtown. According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population was 1,566.
When Lincoln County was created from Wilkes County in 1796, the legislative act provided that county commissioners select a site for a county seat and build a courthouse there. The settlement of Lincolnton, located near a water source then called Founders Spring, was named the seat of the county about 1800. It was incorporated in 1817. Like the county, the town was named for General Benjamin Lincoln, a Massachusetts officer of the Revolutionary War (1775-83) who commanded American forces in the southern states. General Lincoln also served as U.S. secretary of war during the latter years of the American Revolution.
In the fall of 1917 downtown Lincolnton, which consisted primarily of wooden structures, was largely destroyed by fire. Rebuilding began in 1918. The current county courthouse in Lincolnton dates from 1915 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also on the register is the Lamar-Blanchard House (1823), built by Peter Lamar, the “king of Lincoln,” and now home to the Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, Welcome Center, and Development Authority.
Another historic establishment is Price’s Store (1897), a general store that operated for nearly 100 years (it closed in 1996). The four-acre Lincoln County Historical Park in Lincolnton features an assemblage of buildings, including the relocated and restored Groves-May House (1878) and doctor’s office, an operational gin mill (built in the mid-1800s), a sawmill, a cane syrup mill, a log smokehouse, a blacksmith’s shop, and a restored late-eighteenth-century log cabin. One of the historical landmarks of Lincolnton is the Old Union Church, erected circa 1823 on a hill west of the original courthouse on land donated by Peter Lamar. It was the first and only church in the town until after the Civil War (1861-65). The church has also been used as a school. The Mitchell-Parks House, ordered by mail from Sears Roebuck by a Lincolnton pharmacist about 1910 and assembled at the site, is still occupied as a private residence.
In October 1965, during the height of the civil rights movement, leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized a voting rights march in Lincolnton, and some of the marchers were attacked and beaten.
Lincolnton has a hometown bank, a weekly newspaper, and a public library and participates in the Better Hometown Program, operated by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. This community-development program is a public-private partnership intended to stimulate the downtown revitalization of small communities with populations between 1,000 and 5,000.