Lincolnton was established as the county seat of Lincoln County in 1785. It was laid out with a central courthouse surrounded by a grid with four primary streets—East Main, West Main, North Aspen and South Aspen, which divided the town into quadrants. Over time, development in Lincolnton filled the original grid plan, expanded it, and eventually moved beyond it while maintaining the four principal arteries like compass points.
Today Lincolnton’s history is reflected in its downtown historic districts adjacent to downtown. Lincoln County has 23 historic resources listed on the National Register of Historic Places including six downtown church buildings.
The South Aspen Street Historic District features homes from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
The West Main Street Historic District possesses the largest surviving collection of buildings erected in Lincolnton during the nineteenth century prior to the Civil War, which was a period when the town experienced great prosperity and influence. The buildings reflect the Federal and Greek revival styles of architecture. The district also contains houses from the first three decades of the twentieth century which include Victorian Colonial Revivals, Colonial Revivals, bungalow Craftsman style homes and period cottage style homes popular during those years.