Lincoln County, incorporated June 19, 1760, contains 457 square miles with 451 miles of coastline, six rivers and a 1990 census population of 30,357. In 1760 Lincoln County's western boundary began at the eastern edge of Casco Bay (Small Point) followed the Casco Bay shore to the New Meadows River across the carrying place to Merrymeeting Bay and then 30 miles up the Androscoggin River where the boundary ran North 2W to the Canadian border. The easterly boundary was Nova Scotia extending from the sea to the northerly reaches of the territory of Maine. In 1760 Lincoln County covered three-fifths of the territory of Maine; the remaining portion of the State was in the counties of York and Cumberland. Out of the 1760 Lincoln County land area were formed the additional 13 counties that comprise the State today; although their configuration has changed over the years preceding statehood in 1820.
Pownalborough was the original shire town named for Thomas Pownal, who served as Colonial Governor of Massachusetts from 1757 to 1769. Lincoln County received its name in compliment to Governor Pownal who was born in Lincoln, England. In 1790 Wiscasset became and still is the county seat. The county was governed by the Court of General Sessions until 1831 when government was transferred to the Court of County Commissioners and remains so today.
Marine interests such as commercial fishing, lobstering, clamming, eeling, boat building along with forestry and agriculture constituted the majority of the early economic base. Nuclear power generation, service industries and tourism have joined to provide a strong and stable economic present and future.
"Our county government enjoys the distinction of being both modern and progressive yet fiscally conservative."
--Lincoln County Commissioners
The Lincoln County Courthouse
The Lincoln County Courthouse was built in 1824. Of Georgian architecture, it is the oldest courthouse in Maine in which court is still held. It is patterned after many old English buildings and the courtrooms remain practically as they were in the beginning. The actual cost of the building is said to have been $10,843.09. The building was enlarged in 1950 and 1972 but the additions were done in a manner that retains the architecture and character of the original building. Still remaining in the courtroom are the circular niches in which the stoves stood and a marvelous old curved bench. In the traverse jury room there are antique chairs and a table. The stairway is granite with an iron stair rail, and scales used in 1856 to test weights and measures are displayed in a hallway.
The latest addition to the Courthouse grounds is the 1998 Communication Center dedicated to emergency and public service communications in Lincoln County.