Lincoln is located approximately three miles east of Breckenridge on French Gulch Road. Lincoln began as a placer miners’ camp in 1860 and quickly evolved into one of the earliest mining towns on the west side of the Continental Divide. Although Lincoln was never formally platted or otherwise organized as a community, it remained a cohesive entity through four minor booms and busts over the course of 50 years. At its peak in the 1880s, approximately 250 residents called Lincoln home.
The placer boom lasted from 1860 through 1865, and Lincoln transitioned to hardrock mining during the mid-1870s. From this time until 1910, Lincoln was a commercial, communications, milling, and transportation center for a mining industry local to French Gulch. The hardrock mining era, the town’s principal Period of Significance, had three booms, the first from 1875 until 1887, the second 1890 to 1893, and the last spanning 1898 to 1908.
From the 1960s to 1980s, Lincoln was re-occupied. Residents moved into the historic structures, erected additions to the structures, and built numerous outbuildings. The additions were poorly built and incompatible in design, materials, and workmanship with the town site.
The town site of Lincoln is now primarily an archaeological resource with six historic structures approximately 360 feet wide north-south, 1,935 feet long east-west, and 16 acres in area. The site lies on the north floor of French Gulch a short distance above French Creek’s channel. Numerous building platforms, foundations, privy pits, remnants of a livery operation, and a tunnel mine represent aspects of the town. According to evidence, most of the site’s features date to the hardrock mining Period of Significance, if not earlier.
The Forest Service commissioned a 2010 recordation effort completed by Eric Twitty of Mountain States Historical in preparation for removing debris and contemporary structures that posed a threat to human health and safety. In the summer of 2013, the Forest Service completed management recommendations outlined in the recordation evaluation. All non-contributing structures, refuse piles and identified safety hazards were removed. The Forest Service hired a professional contractor to clean six remaining contributing structures, which included the remediation of biological contamination.
Overall, the site possesses sound archaeological integrity and played important roles in the history of French Gulch and Summit County. For these reasons, the site has been identified as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register of Historic Properties. The US Forest Service, in partnership with the Alliance, is completing an Historic Structure Assessment (HSA) with funding from the State Historical Fund and the Town of Breckenridge. The assessment and its recommendations will outline future preservation needs and and options for interpretation. The HSA is scheduled to be completed in early 2016.
For more information about Lincoln City and the current project, email email@example.com or call 970-453-9767 x101.