On June 1st, 2020, Lincoln’s downtown commercial district was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places! The district was also recognized in the Register of Historic Kansas Places earlier this year. The district’s buildings date from between 1881 to 2001 with two-thirds of them being built by or before 1920. These buildings primarily reflect the Late Victorian, Revival and Commercial Styles of architecture. A prominent characteristic of the district is the preponderance of buildings built out of the native Greenhorn limestone (locally referred to as “Post Rock” limestone), which is one of the area’s abundant natural resources.
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 downtown’s history and make property owners of historic buildings eligible for state- and federal- level grants and tax credits to help maintain and improve the properties.
To learn about the downtown’s development with an overview of the history of each building in the district, please see the extensive nomination information.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archaeological resources.
The Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (LCEDF) received a grant from the Kansas Historical Society in 2018 to conduct a survey of downtown Lincoln. 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 primary purpose of the survey was to determine if the overall downtown district (and/or individual properties within it) would be eligible for any historic designations that could open up financial resources to property owners to help maintain and improve their properties.
The grant funding allowed the LCEDF to hire Brenda Spencer of Spencer Preservation to conduct a survey of the downtown district to determine if it (and/or individual properties within it) would be eligible for any historic designations that could open up financial resources to property owners to help maintain and improve their properties.
Once the survey determined the downtown to be eligible, several public meetings were held to discuss whether to continue moving forward with the process of designation. The general consensus from property owners was to continue with the process and Brenda continued her research. This included photo documentation of the district, researching its history and analyzing its historic character, researching the history of each building within the district and writing architectural descriptions. With all this information in hand, she also wrote the formal nomination document to the National Register of Historic Places.
If you have any questions about the historic designations and its benefits, 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.
Downtown Lincoln Historic Survey 2019 – Final survey report includes many historic and current photos of the downtown, identification of various architectural styles, methodology for survey work and final recommendations.
Lincoln Presentation 2019 – June, 2019, presentation to the Lincoln community.
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 – Downtown 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 DOWNTOWN HISTORIC DISTRICT
LIST OF PROPERTIES IN HISTORIC DISTRICT
(with contributing/non-contributing status)