Who Were Our First Settlers?
The first known settlement in the Lincoln area was the Ba-Mu-Ma Indian village, home of the Nisenans, a branch of the Maidu Indians. The Nisenans were hunters and gatherers, trading fish, beads, roots, and acorns with those living in the hills. Starting in 1822, 5,000 years after the Nisenans had settled, Spanish explorers, fur trappers, and other Europeans began farms and ranches, eventually driving the Nisenans out of their homeland. Due to disease, violence, and land appropriation, the end of the Indian civilization led to the beginning of the Gold Rush and the first California railroad.
How Did Lincoln Get Its Name?
Many people assume that Lincoln was named after Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th president, but the town was named in honor of Colonel Charles “Lincoln” Wilson, the president of California’s first railroad. After launching the Sacramento Valley Railroad, he founded the California Central Railroad in 1857. Wilson, an orphan raised by neighbors, served in the army, fought in the Mexican War, and eventually became a successful businessman, specializing in transportation. With the booming gold rush, Wilson’s California railroad was going to be built to connect Marysville to Folsom, crossing the Sacramento American River, and ending in the new town of Lincoln. An 1859 article from the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper stated, “If railroads are conceded to be an advantage to our country, Wilson has proved of more benefit to California than all the party politicians she ever contained.” Look for Colonel Wilson’s marker on the grounds of the Lincoln Civic Center Auditorium.
Gladding, McBean & Co.
In 1874, after reading an article in a San Francisco newspaper about a large clay deposit near the town of Lincoln, Charles Gladding, Peter McGill McBean, and George Chambers moved to Lincoln and established Gladding-McBean, home of the clay sewer pipe. Expanding throughout the 1890s to roof tile, garden pottery, urns, decorative fountains, and birdbaths, the company grew into a major manufacturer of architectural terra-cotta, which is still seen throughout the city of Lincoln today. Nearly 150 years later, Gladding, McBean is still a thriving business, producing roof and floor tiles, terra cotta, pottery, chimney tops, and more. McBean’s work is seen throughout the world, and Lincoln is the home of an international juried ceramic art show, Clayfest.
Why The Zebra?
New residents of Lincoln may wonder why the local high school mascot is a zebra. The story begins in 1922, long before the days of professional basketball. The local league, including teams from Lincoln, Auburn, Roseville, Grass Valley, Marysville and other towns, was made up of young men who had graduated high school and were looking to continue playing recreationally. At a winning game against Sacramento in 1922, the Lincoln team donned their brand-new uniforms — white and blue vertical striped suits. After crowds nicknamed the players the zebras, the name stuck, and the Lincoln Zebras were born. That same year, the Lincoln High School basketball team requested similar uniforms and 100 years later, the blue and gold stripes of the Lincoln Zebras still fly high!
Go, Potters, Go!
Since the 1950s, the Lincoln Potters collegiate baseball team has brought hometown family fun to the Lincoln community as fans enjoy games every summer. While local teams have been playing ball in Lincoln since the 1920s, the Lincoln Potters were formed when Gladding, McBean & Co. signed as sponsors for the team. Currently, this pre-professional wooden-bat league provides opportunities for college students to be looked at by minor and major league scouts and local community members can volunteer as host families for players during the summer months. Since 1925, the beloved McBean stadium has welcomed thousands of local fans to enjoy America’s greatest pastime and the stadium remains a cornerstone for the Lincoln community. Visit lincolnpotters.com for game schedules and tickets!
Want To Learn More About Lincoln?
The Lincoln Area Artifacts Museum (LAAM), located on Fifth Street in downtown Lincoln, is dedicated to preserving the history of Lincoln through artifacts reflecting the cultural heritage of the City of Lincoln and the surrounding area. At the Lincoln museum, patrons will find a replica of the Lincoln Train depot, military memorabilia, Lincoln Potters collection, and other collectibles. Described by locals as a “hidden gem,” this charming museum is worth a visit!