"...Let us secure for ourselves and for our children a beauty spot in the midst of our growing city – a breathing place for all the thousands who are to come after us." — Portland Transcript, 1856

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“Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Evolution of an Historic Park”

Lincoln Park was built in 1866 after a fire that nearly destroyed Portland. The park rose from the ashes of that great fire, so it was first called Phoenix Square. The park was refurbished and rededicated at a ceremony in 1909, but it hasn’t had much attention paid to it since. In 2013, Lincoln Park was added to the list of Places in Peril by Greater Portland Landmarks. The Friends of Lincoln Park are dedicated to restoring the park to its former glory. Please help us bring back yesterday’s Lincoln Park today, so it will have a better tomorrow. We want you to love Lincoln Park as much as we do!

To stay updated with our efforts to help Lincoln Park, we invite you to subscribe to our email newsletter using the sign up bar below, or send us a message from our Contact Us page – we promise to never give your email address to anyone else.  Thanks!

A Brief History of Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park was the first publicly-owned improved park in Portland. The city bought the burnt-out parcel bordered by Congress, Franklin, Federal, and Pearl Streets for $83,000 in 1866. That's about $1.3 million in today's dollars.

The park itself was first conceived as a firebreak, after the Great Fire of 1866, and it came to represent the resurgence of Portland after the fire. "No time should be lost in making the park as pleasant and attractive as possible," Portland's then-mayor A. E. Stevens remarked in 1867.

The park's iconic fountain was cast by the Val d'Osne foundry in Paris, France. It is one of only three known instances of that model of fountain to have come to the United States.

The park was a hub of the city for decades. In addition to being a popular spot for Portland citizens to meet and relax, a farmer's market was held on Federal Street every Saturday morning from early spring to late fall.

Lincoln Park's size and appearance has changed several times over the years. In 1909, the park expanded to include an empty lot to the west - the city built the Congress Street Fire Station on that spot in 1923. Dutch elm disease killed the Park's many elm trees during the 1960s, and in 1970 the eastern quarter of the park was demolished to make way for the widening of Franklin Street.

Today, Lincoln Park is still here - but it needs our help!

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