On April 3, 2020, Lincoln’s City Park was officially listed in both the National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Historic Kansas Places! Much of the park was developed between 1937-1940 with the cooperation of the National Youth Administration (NYA), a depression-era federal assistance program designed to aid the nation’s youth. Over thirty local youth participated in construction of the park through Lincoln County’s NYA program that offered part-time work and valuable construction training.
Design of the park is credited to NYA Architect Frank Seitz of Ellsworth. Park amenities were constructed by local boys of sandstone and limestone donated by area farmers and ranchers with the primary features including a bandstand, scout cabin, shelter house, and restroom building. Secondary features include stone picnic tables and benches, Dutch ovens/fireplaces, a pergola, and a fish pond now used as a sandbox.
The historic designation comes during the 150th anniversary year since Lincoln County was established and officially recognized by the State of Kansas. The goal of the historic designation is to both promote the park’s history and make it eligible for state- and federal-level grants and tax credits to help maintain and improve the area.
For more information about the park’s history and features, please see the nomination below:
In 2018, The Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (LCEDF) received a grant from the Kansas Historical Society to conduct a survey of Lincoln’s City Park along with downtown Lincoln and downtown Sylvan Grove. Additional grant funding from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation, Network Kansas, the City of Lincoln, the City of Sylvan Grove and the Lincoln County Historical Society were received in order to take the additional steps necessary to research and write the subsequent nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
The grant funding allowed the LCEDF to hire Brenda Spencer of Spencer Preservation to conduct the survey including photo documentation of the park, researching its history and analyzing its historic character. Upon the completion of her survey work, Brenda submitted a report (see below) of her findings that included the determination, with agreement by the Kansas Historical Society, that the park would be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
With the determination the park is eligible for the historic designations, several public meetings were held to discuss whether to continue moving forward with the process. The general consensus was to continue with the process.
If you have any questions about the survey or on the benefits of historic designations, please feel free to contact the LCEDF at [email protected], 785-524-8954, or visit the office in the County Courthouse at 216 E Lincoln Ave., Lincoln, Kansas.
Lincoln City Park Historic Survey 2019 – Final report includes a summary of the park’s history, outline of structures and features that contribute to the park’s historic character and final recommendations
Kansas Historic Resources Inventory – Database includes detailed information on each property within the district. Search the database by scrolling down to the “Survey Project” field and select “Lincoln – City Park Survey (HPF 2018)”.
FAQs on Lincoln’s survey and historic designations – Answers frequently asked questions about the survey process, what ‘contributing’ and ‘non-contributing’ means to a property owner, and how designation can impact property owners.
Map of the City Park Historic District
List of Surveyed Structures and Features within the City Park