Lincoln

Lincoln is entombed under heavy snow in the winter and becomes a vacation haven in the summer. This small community is surrounded by forests and lakes with the Blackfoot River serving as a gateway to some of Montana’s most popular back-country. Some of Montana’s largest pines surround this mountain village.

Like many of the mountain towns in western Montana, Lincoln has its roots in gold mining. In the mid-1800s, gold was discovered in what became known as Lincoln Gulch. By 1867, Abe Lincoln Gulch stretched for ten miles with a population of over 500 hardy souls. There were two saloons, a bakery, a general store, and butcher shop. They were soon followed by a hotel and livery stable. Until the gold played out in 1926, miners took a reported $7 million out of the ground. Word is, that much again was removed and not reported.

Like so many mining towns, when the gold ran out, so did the townsfolk. The settlement almost disappeared until homesteaders began ranching in the upper Blackfoot River valley. The area became a popular place for vacation cabins for people from Great Falls and Helena. In 1919, a British immigrant and his wife, James and Mary Lambkin, bought the tiny hotel in Lincoln. They replaced the old hotel with a larger log structure and built several log cabins surrounding the hotel to provide lodging for tourists.

During the prohibition area, Lincoln stills kept Helena’s government offices, stores, and politicians wet. In its prime, the Lincoln booze industry was producing over 300 gallons of illegal hooch per month. If they arrested the farmer-moonshiner, his wife took over until he left jail.

Lincoln got its fifteen minutes of fame in 1996 when FBI agents moved in on the cabin of Ted Kaczynski. Lincoln residents were somewhat shocked to find out their mild-mannered neighbor was the so-called Unabomber and the villain of an eighteen-year manhunt.

 

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