It was a novel idea for the town, but for Annie Allen it was a natural mix. Formerly the art teacher at the local K through 12 school, Annie opened Roasted: Art and Coffee three years ago in a storefront under the one blinking yellow light on Highway 200. As advertised, the shop offers a full selection of coffee as well as an eclectic mix of art and gifts from local and regional artists. True to her job history, Annie also offers an assortment of fun and original art classes in the cozy classroom in the back of the house.
Just off the beaten path, down a long driveway that winds through willows and wildflowers and wraps it’s way up a slope, is the home of Jerry and Susie Biresch. What was once a 160 acre homestead where dairy cattle and chickens roamed, and potato plants ruled the hilltop, is now the site of the Iron Hammer Forge. It is here that Jerry has spent the last 25 years making a living doing what he loves – using his blacksmith shop to create works of art.
Rick Rowley’s intricate wood carvings have been a staple of the Lincoln landscape for years. From the Forest Service Ranger Station to the historic Hotel Lincoln to Hooper Park, his work can be spotted just about everywhere in town, and throughout the state and the country for that matter. Rowley operates under the moniker of The Lost Woodsman, and the business has recently become a family affair. Rick’s daughter, Rikki, has taken over operation of The Lost Woodsman Gallery in Lincoln with the hopes of creating a family friendly gathering place for the community.
The Lost Woodsman is an art gallery, gift shop, and cafe rolled into one. The art and gifts offered here are a celebration of the Western spirit and culture, and the food is comforting and familiar (and pretty darn tasty according to the locals).
The newest addition to the line-up of offerings here is a beer and wine license to facilitate what has been dubbed “the lounge”. Rikki is a lover of music and a good glass of wine, and wanted to offer a place for local musicians and families to mingle and indulge in drink offering not typically found in other local establishments. The lounge features a corner stage complete with amps and a keyboard, and chalkboard topped tables that encourage artistic expression of all patrons young to old. The plan for the lounge is to feature live music from local and regional acts, as well as open mic nights. Rikki’s hope is that musically inclined folks will feel welcome to stop in anytime, plug into the amp, and play to their heart’s content.
All that remains to remind of the old Lincoln townsite is a brown and yellow Forest Service sign. The nearby cemetery once sat on a grassy hillside, but is now being consumed by the forest.
While originally a mining community, and then a hub for the timber industry, Lincoln has throughout it’s history supported it’s fair share of ranches. Just south of town the timber breaks, and a wide mountain valley offers humbling views of the surrounding pine covered mountains. It is here that the Sunny Slope Grazing Association is located, and where ranch manager Donny Pettit makes his home. The Sunny Slope accommodates summer grazing for several Montana ranches, the cattle lazily graze the mountainsides, sharing the grass with herds of elk, in the shade of towering Ponderosa pines.
Spring in Lincoln heralds the return of migratory birds, and Bob. In the wake of a brutal divorce, Bob determined he had two choices – he could drink his life away sitting on the couch watching TV, or he could find himself a little adventure. Having been bitten by the gold bug at a young age, there seemed no adventure more fitting than prospecting and no better place to try his luck than Lincoln.
Bob has been spending his summers in Lincoln for 9 years now, and 3 years ago he was able to purchase his own mining claim. A narrow strip of old creek bed, the (now) Hawkeye-Sterling Placer Claim is located up Lincoln Gulch near the cemetery. While this area was heavily mined in the past, Bob is certain that with their rudimentary techniques and equipment the miners of yore missed a lot. His theory is proved by the hunks and flakes of gold he and his partners have coaxed out of the old creek bed.
Bob and his partners recently completed the vertical portion of their first mine shaft on the claim. The shaft was dug using exclusively pickaxes and shovels – they do things the old fashioned way around here.
Built in 1929, the Hotel Lincoln has been a centerpiece of the town since it’s construction. Once offering refuge and a hearty meal to miners, the historic building now offers a comfortable stay to travelers and recreationists. Current owners Don, and his daughter Lauri, have created an oasis of rustic luxury offering quaint rooms, and a variety of gourmet meals and delicious signature drinks in their Logs Gastropub.
“Lincoln: part wilderness, part paradise” reads the sign greeting visitors driving east on Highway 200. And a wilderness paradise it is. The town is nestled in a wide mountain valley, tucked underneath the Continental Divide and butted up against one of the largest swatches of undisturbed wilderness in the lower 48 – the Bob Marshall-Scapegoat Wilderness Complex. The famous Blackfoot River casually snakes it’s way through the valley, it’s deep pockets and horseshoe bends rife with trout.