Lincoln Street Historic District
The Lincoln Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2016, The Gombach Group.
The Lincoln Street Historic District is comprised of a cohesive homogeneous grouping of mid-nineteenth century architecture, plus one relocated house of the late 18th century. Stylistically, the largest number of structures are Greek Revival. Other styles represented in the district include one Transitional Greek Revival-Italianate, one Italianate and one 1772 Colonial-Colonial Revival. In its two decades of development, the predominant characteristic in the Lincoln Street Historic District was a straightforward interpretation of the current architectural mode.
The scale, proportion, materials, color and design quality of the structures are in Harmony throughout the District. Of the fifteen structures in the area, nine are 2-1/2 story gable, roofed, four are 1-1/2 story gable roofed, one is a 2 story hip roof, and one is a 2 story flat roof. All the buildings exhibit a traditional concern for symmetrical design and proportion. Of the buildings, 8 are brick with wood and stone trim, and 7 are frame. Of the frame ones, 4 have clapboard exteriors, 1 has asphalt siding, 1 has aluminum siding, and 1 has shingles. Gray and white are the predominant paint colors. All buildings are simply designed and substantially constructed.
The fifteen homes of the Lincoln Street Historic District stand in close proximity to one another, all being located on Lincoln Street. This close proximity can be interpreted to mean the presence of a regularized pattern of structure location resulting from the distribution of lot deeds from a single individual within a period of a few months. The homes relate to the street in a regularized pattern of orientation and setback. The street retains many of its shade trees.
Of the fifteen structures on Lincoln Street, fourteen are presently being used for their original, residential purpose, while one serves as the local historical society's museum. The reuse of this structure occurred as an isolated event.
All of the Lincoln Street Historic District's buildings are in good to excellent condition. Most structures have apparently always been well maintained. There are no serious intrusions to the area in the form of commercial buildings or more modern construction. This District of Brunswick comprises outstanding examples of mid-nineteenth century, domestic architecture, which mirrors the town's growth during an important period of its evolution.
Lincoln Street as a district is possessed of unusual architectural homogeneity. The vast majority of the houses were built within a year or two of each other, the land having been owned by Dr. Isaac Lincoln who divided it into lots which he sold to different owners within the space of a few months in 1843 and 1844.
Born in Cohasset, Massachusetts in 1780 and graduating from Harvard College in 1800, Dr. Lincoln studied medicine with Dr. Thomas Thaxter and established a practice in Topsham, across the river from Brunswick, in 1804. In 1820 he married Maria S. Dunlap and moved to the latter town where he established an outstanding medical reputation. He was granted an honorary M.D. degree from Bowdoin College in 1831 and was a faculty member of the Maine Medical School there from 1820 to 1867. He also served as a member of the Board of Overseers of Bowdoin for 60 years. During his lifetime, Dr. Lincoln acquired considerable property of which the present Lincoln Street was a part.
Always known for his interest in orderly community growth, Dr. Lincoln, upon his decision to sell, set off evenly shaped lots with four rod frontages on the street, the only exception being the corner lots on Union Street, which were six rods, twenty links in width. All the lots were disposed of between June 9, 1843 and September 10, 1844. Since the majority of the houses presently on Lincoln Street appear on an 1846 street map of Brunswick, it is clear that they were built within a span of two years. An interesting sidelight, in view of Dr. Lincoln's reputation for civic-mindedness is the fact that in most of the deeds he granted, setbacks of sixteen links from the street were required.
Lincoln Street still retains its period uniformity and represents an interesting mid-19th century phenomenon in urban growth.
† Frank A. Beard, Historian and Stephen Kaplan, Graduate Assistant, Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Lincoln Street Historic District, Cumberland County, Maine, nomination document, 1976, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.