Early in 1872, when it had become fairly settled that Lincoln Center was for all time to be the capital of the county, the people of School District No. 6 voted $3,500 in bonds for the erection of a handsome stone school-house, which was built the following summer. It is 38 x 42, two stories high, and built of magnesian limestone. The present School Board are: R. F. Bryant, C. G. Wood, J. B. Goff. The school is now enjoying an average daily attendance of 103 and is presided over by James Mallory, assisted by Mrs. Burress.
Lincoln County was without a paper from its organization in 1870 until March 3, 1873, when F. H. Barnhart, whose biography appears in the Osborne County History, commenced the publication of the Lincoln County News. April 3 he associated with himself in the publication of the News Mr. W. C. Busick, who afterward became County Clerk, and now resides at Sylvan Grove, in this county. Mr. Barnhart sold his interest in the News, Dec. 22, 1873, to Rev. P. Barker, who assumed editorial management of the paper and published it until Dec. 22, 1874. July 16, 1874, Barnhart commenced the publication of the Farmer, which he maintained until January 1, 1875, when it was moved to Osborne, where it is now published by him.
The News passed into the hands of J. W. Newell early in 1875, and the following fall he moved it to Stockton, in Rooks County. At the time Mr. Barker abandoned the publication of the News, F. M. Beatty started a paper called the Western Democrat, which was continued under that name until June 15, 1875, when it was sold to G. W. Wellman, who changed the name to the Saline Valley Register, and made it the county paper until January, 1879, when it was sold to Messrs. Watson & Kime. During the last six months of the regime of Wellman, Albert Springer owned a half interest in the Register, and assisted editorially in its publication. Watson & Kime ran the paper until the following September, when it was sold to Hon. George W. Anderson, its present publisher.
On the first of December, 1879, Ira Lutes brought material from Illinois and commenced publication of the Lincoln Argus, which after seventeen weeks he sold to Hon. Walter S. Wait, who changed the name to the Beacon. It is now owned by Mr. Wait, who is assisted in the editorial work by his wife and son, A. H. Wait.
The press on which the News, the Democrat and the Register were printed was brought to St. Mary's Mission, in Kansas, and the St. Mary's Star, one of the first papers in Kansas, printed thereon. It is now at Cain City, in Ellsworth County. Mr. P. Barker, the second editor of the News, was aged about fifty years, and a native of the State of New York, where he had studied for the ministry. He came to this county from Chicago, where he had been a local preacher for the Methodist Episcopal church for many years. He often occupied the pulpits of his church at various places in this county. While publishing the News at Lincoln, he also published papers for Brookville and Wilson, on the Kansas Pacific Railway. He is now a resident of the State of New Jersey.
A Presbyterian Church was organized in Lincoln Center in June, 1874, by the Rev. H. C. Bradbury, who was for several years its Pastor. The church building, an elegant stone edifice, was commenced in 1875, and dedicated in July, 1879. It is valued at $2,500. The church numbers some thirty-five members, the following named being the present Trustees: D. E. Coolbaugh, Pres.; Geo. M. Lutes, Capt. J. T. Smith, C. J. Brown, John Stein.
The Vesper Presbyterian Church, in Pleasant Township, is also in charge of Rev. H. C. Bradbury. This class contains twenty-four members and was organized Sept. 3, 1875. They have no church building. A Sabbath-school is regularly held with an average attendance of seventy-five scholars.
The Blue Stem Presbyterian, in the southwestern part of the county, was organized in March, 1882, and now has twenty-eight members and a regular Sabbath-school of eighty-five scholars. Rev. H. C. Bradbury is also the pastor of this church.
Rev. John Kelley, of Ellsworth, was instrumental in founding a class and building a Catholic Church at this place. The congregation numbers over 300, and services are held monthly. They have a plain frame building in the northwest part of the city erected at an expense of $1,000.
The M. E. Church Society was organized in this city in the fall of 1872. It now numbers 115 members. The first pastor was Rev. J. D. Mattson. They have built no house of worship, but regular services are held each Sabbath in the commodious hall in Cummings's Bank Building. The children and members assist in maintaining the Union Sunday-school. Rev. J. M. Miller is the present pastor. Arrangements are being made to build a church during the year 1883.
The Bible Christian Church society was organized in Lincoln Center in the winter of 1876. It now numbers twenty-one members, and is under the care and pastoral guidance of Rev. J. S. Strange. The Baptist Church is used as their regular house of worship. Their Sabbath-school scholars attend the Union Sabbath-school.
A Lutheran Church was organized Dec. 17, 1882, with a membership of thirteen, Rev. J. A. Bright, pastor. They are at present occupying the Baptist Church, a frame edifice on Main street, which is not now needed by the Baptists as the society has moved away in detail until only one of the original members remains a resident of Lincoln.
At Denmark, in Salt Creek Township, the Lutherans have a church building which cost about $1,500, and was built in 1880. The society was organized in 1877, and now numbers about forty-two members.
The various churches of Lincoln Center have formed a Union Sabbath-school which is held regularly every Sunday in the Presbyterian Church. Capt. J. T. Smith is the popular and able Superintendent who keeps up the interest in the work. The average attendance is seventy- five. They have a well-patronized library.
The National Woman's Suffrage Association, an auxiliary branch of which was formed in Lincoln in 1881. At present writing the officers are: Mrs. Emily Biggs, President; Mrs. E. Lutes, Vice-President; Mrs. Anna C. Wait, Secretary. This auxiliary numbers sixty-five members, and has two auxiliaries in the county, one at Pinon postoffice and the other at Tower Springs.
Lincoln Intrenchment, No. 62, of the Sir Knights of the Grand Army of the Union, was organized in this city in December, 1881. It now has enrolled over sixty members, of whom D. H. Malone is Colonel-Commanding, and Chas. G. Wood, Adjutant.
Center Lodge, I. O. O. F., was organized in Lincoln, March 23, 1874. The Lodge has grown in wealth until now its property is valued at $500, and has twenty-eight members. The present officers are: D. B. Day, N. G.; Geo. M. Lutes, V. G.; S. A. Alton, Sec.; S. Holcomb, Treas.
Lincoln Lodge, No. 154, A. F. & A. M., was organized in this city on the 28th day of March, 1874. It now numbers about fifty members. This lodge united with the bank in erecting an elegant stone building, and their hall is estimated to be worth about $1,500. The present officers are: D. H. Malone, W. M.; J. S. Strange, S. W.; M. Robertson, J. W.; J. D. Miller, Sec.
Lincoln Center has only developed as a trading point, but in this particular is a town of considerable note. Several large stores of considerable pretentions in regard to size of buildings and greater as regards stocks carried are scattered about the town. Nearly all the business houses are built of stone while the majority of the dwellings are frame. South of town a handsome iron bridge spans the Saline River. It was built and put in place by the King Bridge Company, of Kansas City, and the towns of Elkhorn and Indiana have put up their bonds in the sum of $4,000 in payment for the same.
Just above the bridge is the handsome and substantial stone mill building, commenced in the year 1872 by Elias Rees. The mill is now complete and the estate of E. Rees values the property at $12,500. The mill contains four run of stone and has every later improvement for custom mills. A dwelling and store building adjacent causes the crossing at the bridge to have the appearance of a town.
Lincoln Center is located at 39°2'30N, 98°8'48W (39.041744, -98.146760). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.8 km² (1.1 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,349 people, 611 households, and 367 families residing in the city. The population density was 477.8/km² (1,236.2/mi²). There were 724 housing units at an average density of 256.5/km² (663.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.92% White, 0.30% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.96% of the population.
There were 611 households out of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 37.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.70.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 21.5% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 30.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 84.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,750, and the median income for a family was $37,361. Males had a median income of $27,250 versus $18,750 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,319. About 5.3% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.