Lincolnton, North Carolina
View along Main Street (NC 27)
View along Main Street (NC 27)
Flag of Lincolnton, North Carolina
Official seal of Lincolnton, North Carolina
"Near the City. Near the Mountains. Near Perfect."
Location of Lincolnton, North Carolina
Location of Lincolnton, North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°28′30″N 81°14′19″W / 35.47500°N 81.23861°W / 35.47500; -81.23861[1]
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
Named forBenjamin Lincoln
 • MayorEd Hatley[2]
 • Total8.75 sq mi (22.66 km2)
 • Land8.68 sq mi (22.47 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)
Elevation883 ft (269 m)
 • Total11,091
 • Density1,278.50/sq mi (493.65/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code704
FIPS code37-38320[4]
GNIS feature ID2404933[1]

Lincolnton is a city in Lincoln County, North Carolina, United States within the Charlotte metropolitan area. The population was 10,486 at the 2010 census.[5] Lincolnton is northwest of Charlotte, on the South Fork of the Catawba River. The city is the county seat of Lincoln County.[6]


Lincoln Cotton Mills, built 1813
10-year-old factory worker in Lincolnton, 1908

This area was long occupied by varying cultures of indigenous peoples; the first Americans settled the area after the American Revolution in the late 18th century.

In June 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, the future site of Lincolnton was the site of the Battle of Ramsour's Mill, a small engagement in which local Loyalists were defeated by pro-independence forces. Some historians[who?] consider the battle significant because it disrupted Loyalist organizing in the region at a crucial time.

After the Revolution, the legislature organized a new county by splitting this area from old Tryon County (named in the colonial era for a royally appointed governor). The 1780 battle site was chosen for the seat of Lincoln County. The new city and the county were named for Major General Benjamin Lincoln, who served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.[7]

The Piedmont area was developed for industry, based on using the water power from the streams and rivers there. With the advantage of the South Fork of the Catawba, Lincolnton was the site of the first textile mill in North Carolina, constructed by Michael Schenck in 1813.[8] It was the first cotton mill built south of the Potomac River.[citation needed] Cotton processing became a major industry in the area. St. Luke's Episcopal Church was founded in 1841.[9]

During the American Civil War, Lincoln County had many residents who either joined or were conscripted to the Confederate Army. Among them was Major General Stephen Dodson Ramseur, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia in the final year of the war. His body was returned to Lincolnton for burial. Episcopal missionary bishop Henry C. Lay spent the final months of the Civil War in the town. Union forces occupied Lincoln County on Easter Monday, 1865, shortly before the close of the war.[9]

As county seat and a center of the textile industry, city residents prospered on the returns from cotton cultivation. The city has numerous properties, including churches, which have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since the late 20th century. It has three recognized historic districts: Lincolnton Commercial Historic District, South Aspen Street Historic District, and West Main Street Historic District. These were centers of the earliest businesses and retail activities. There was much activity around the Lincoln County Courthouse on court days, when farmers typically came to town to trade and sell their goods.

Residences, churches and other notable buildings marked the development of the city; they include the Caldwell-Cobb-Love House, Emanuel United Church of Christ, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Eureka Manufacturing Company Cotton Mill, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, Methodist Church Cemetery, Lincolnton Recreation Department Youth Center, Loretz House, Old White Church Cemetery, Pleasant Retreat Academy, Shadow Lawn, St. Luke's Church and Cemetery, and Woodside.[10][11]

In 1986, Lincolnton expanded by annexing the town of Boger City.[12]


Lincolnton is in central Lincoln County in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. U.S. Route 321, a four-lane freeway, passes through the east side of the city, leading north 20 miles (32 km) to Hickory and south 15 miles (24 km) to Gastonia. North Carolina Highway 27 is Lincolnton's Main Street and leads southeast 20 miles (32 km) to Mount Holly and west 16 miles (26 km) to Toluca. Charlotte is 37 miles (60 km) southeast of Lincolnton via US 321 and Interstate 85.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.7 square miles (22.6 km2), of which 8.6 square miles (22.4 km2) are land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.93%, are water.[13] The city is sited on the northeastern side of the South Fork of the Catawba River, which flows southeast to join the Catawba River at the South Carolina border. Clark Creek joins the South Fork in the northwestern part of the city.

Government and politics

Lincolnton is governed by a mayor and four-member city council, who hire a city manager to oversee day-to-day governance. City council members serve four-year terms and the mayor serves for two years. They are elected in partisan elections in odd-numbered years. Council members represent city wards in which they must reside, but are elected at-large. The mayor conducts city meetings, normally the first Thursday of each month, and votes only in case of a tie.

Lincolnton government has traditionally been run solely by Democrats, but currently has a bipartisan government for the first time in its history.[citation needed] The city electorate narrowly backed Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. The rest of Lincoln County has generally leaned Republican, and heavily favored Republican John McCain in the 2008 election.

Edward L. Hatley (D) was elected as mayor in 2015. Hatley previously served as a member of the Lincoln County Board of Education. Lincolnton's City Council Members are Tim Smith(R) of Ward 1, David M. Black (D) of Ward 2, Dr. Martin A. Eaddy (D) of Ward 3, and Roby Jetton (R) of Ward 4. Council Members Smith, Black and Dr. Eaddy had their terms expire in 2017. The term of Council Member Jetton expired in 2019.

In 2018, Mary Frances White (D) became the first black elected official in Lincoln County's history.[14]


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Lincolnton is home to one print newspaper and one radio station as well as a range of online news sites and blogs. The Lincoln Times-News was formed in the early 1960s by a merger between two much older publications. Based in historic downtown Lincolnton, the family-owned newspaper covers all of Lincoln County, for which it is the legal paper of record. WLON radio went on the air in the late 1950s or early 1960s and provides coverage of Lincolnton High School football every Friday night, as well as Atlanta Braves, NC State Wolfpack, and UNC Tar Heels sports events. The online Lincoln Tribune was founded about six years ago with a print edition, but has since become an exclusively online publication.[citation needed] Two free-distribution weekly papers News@Norman and Denver Weekly operate only in the eastern portion of Lincoln County. An on-line web paper, Lincoln Herald, began publishing in August 2012.


The city has grown since 1980 as part of the Charlotte metropolitan area expansion.

Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

2020 census

Lincolnton racial composition[16]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 7,413 66.84%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 1,485 13.39%
Native American 43 0.39%
Asian 103 0.93%
Pacific Islander 1 0.01%
Other/Mixed 504 4.54%
Hispanic or Latino 1,542 13.9%

As of the 2020 United States census there were 11,091 people, 4,668 households, and 2,652 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 10,683 people, 3,878 households, and 2,943 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,219.4 inhabitants per square mile (470.8/km2). There were 4,146 housing units at an average density of 507.4 per square mile (195.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 65.98% White, 24.49% African American, 0.41% Asian, 0.33% Native American, 4.15% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.87% of the population.

There were 3,878 households, out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.6% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,684, and the median income for a family was $39,949. Males had a median income of $29,615 versus $21,768 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,667. About 14.4% of families and 17.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.


High schools

Middle schools

Elementary schools:

Charter schools:


Notable people


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lincolnton, North Carolina
  2. ^ "Mayor | Lincolnton, NC - Official Website".
  3. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Total Population: 2010 Census DEC Summary File 1 (P1), Lincolnton city, North Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 187.
  8. ^ Michael Schenck Archived 2011-07-28 at the Wayback Machine,
  9. ^ a b "Historical Brochure" (PDF). St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  10. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  11. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 12/16/13 through 12/20/13. National Park Service. December 27, 2013.
  12. ^ Harrison, Jenna-Ley. "New City Fire Station Opened in Boger City". Lincoln Times-News. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  13. ^ "U.S. Gazetteer Files: 2019: Places: North Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau Geography Division. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Anthony, Jaclyn (December 5, 2018). "Mary Frances White makes history as city's first elected African-American". Lincoln Times News. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  17. ^ 2010 Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy & Dynamics Recipient. American Physical Society. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  18. ^ Friedlander, Brett. (June 2, 2020). 100 in 100: Lincoln County’s Dennis Byrd, pillar of NC State’s ‘White Shoes Defense’. North State Journal. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  19. ^ Connie Guion, Pioneering Female Physician. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  20. ^ "M. Basketball: Barclay Radebaugh ::". Archived from the original on January 5, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2010.