Lincoln (population 20,898) was settled in 1650 and prospered due to its location on the Great Road, one of the earliest roads built in America, which ran from Providence, Rhode Island, to Worcester, Massachusetts.
The Great Road Historic District contains not only the two oldest houses in Lincoln (dating from 1687 and 1694), but also vestiges of the town's agricultural origins and industrial heritage, including a quarry village. The district is one of seven historic districts in the community.
The town has been proactive in purchasing and preserving open space at historic farmsteads and has supported numerous preservation projects. These include creation of a transportation museum at the Kelly House (1835) on the Blackstone Canal and rehabilitation and public interpretation of Moffett Mill (1812), one of the first machine shops in Rhode Island.
In 1997, the town purchased Hearthside (1810), an historic home threatened with demolition, and is working with Friends of Hearthside, Inc., to rehabilitate and reuse the property. Preservation of Hearthside has been a catalyst for additional heritage-based public programming and interpretive efforts at other nearby historic sites.
Designated a Preserve America Community in June 2004.