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Lincolnton City

Lincolnton City Hall is located at 114 West Sycamore Street, Lincolnton, NC 28093; phone: 704-736-8980.

Beginnings [1]

Lincolnton was established as the county seat of Lincoln County in 1785 and developed as a prosperous town during the late 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. However, in the 1840s, three new counties—Cleveland, Catawba, and Gaston— were created out of Lincoln, reducing Lincoln County's size from its original 1,800 square miles to only 305. Lincolnton struggled to regain economic strength throughout the second half of the nineteenth century until the textile industry took off in the county beginning in 1887. By the turn of the 20th century, Lincolnton was once again beginning to prosper. The town's population nearly tripled from a meager 828 in 1900 to 2,413 in 1910, and continued from that point to grow, though not with the same speed.

In 1887 Gaston County industrialists Daniel E. Rhyne and his brother-in-law, James A. Abernethy, moved to Lincoln County, where they bought an old mill site on the South Fork River just south of Lincolnton, and built the Laboratory Cotton Mill. When that venture proved successful, Rhyne, or Rhyne and Abernethy, built at least five other mills in Lincolnton and the surrounding area during the 1890s and early 1900s. Others entrepreneurs followed in their footsteps, often with assistance from Rhyne, and soon the Lincolnton area became a center for textile manufacturing. By 1904 there were ten cotton mills in the county, and by 1910 there were three more. Growth in the textile industry continued, and in 1933 sixteen mills containing 129,176 spindles and 128 looms employed up to 2,200 operatives. This explosion in Lincoln County's textile industry brought significant growth in population and business to the county seat. Banks were essential to support the financial needs of the expanded industry and commerce, and Lincolnton's first bank, the Bank of Lincolnton, was organized in 1898. The second bank in town, the First National Bank, was established in 1903.

  1. Laura A. W. Phillips, Architectural Historian, for City of Lincolnton, Lincolnton Commercial Historic District, Lincoln County, North Carolina, nomination document, 2005, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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