Local History

Lincoln Woods

Among many of the jewels of Lincoln, Lincoln Woods is one that is rich with history as well as a center of outdoor fun. In the early 1900’s, residents of Lincoln lived in villages of moderate size where they were surrounded by open area. However, as manufacturing increased in Providence, surrounding areas were threatened by pollution (Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission 37). Fortunately, several far-sighted citizens realized that people must have a place to get out of the smog and back to the trees.

At a national level, a system of parks was developing in order to preserve the prairies. This metropolitan system lead to the preservation of many parks that were purchased as a result of nationwide interest in regional planning.

On a more local level, residents of Rhode Island formed an organization of regional parks aptly named the “Public Park Association.” The Public Park Association took several steps leading up to the establishment of Lincoln Woods. In 1903, a plan for a regional park was devised. A General Assembly was set up in 1904 with the designated name being “Metropolitan Park Commission.” This commission was dedicated to developing parks in the Providence Metropolitan area. P.R. Jones, of Olmstead Brothers, the consulting landscape architects for the Metropolitan Park Commission, called what was destined to be Lincoln Woods, a “ section of wild country- of pure, unadulterated nature.” In 1909, the state paid $25,000 for 458 acres of rural land, part of which was used to establish the public parks in Rhode Island. Lincoln Woods was a beneficiary of this purchase.

Today, Lincoln Woods is a thriving center for numerous outdoor activities. Joggers, picnickers, bicyclists, and families with children enjoy this outdoor refuge. It is also not unusual to find fisherman, horseback riders, and sunbathers at the park. In addition, the park is a wonderful place for dog lovers to let their dogs roam the great outdoors. For those who enjoy hiking, there are many trails that cut through Lincoln Woods in addition to a more central trail which surrounds the center of the park, Olney Pond. This trail is 3 miles long, and generally takes the casual hiker 1 ½ to 2 hours to finish.

Lincoln Woods is readily accessible from Providence, Pawtucket, North Providence, and Central Falls. Coming from both north and south of Lincoln Woods, Route 146, via Twin Rivers Road, goes directly to the park.

Bibliography:

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission. Lincoln, Rhode Island. Rhode Island: Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, 1982.

Weber, Ken. Walks and Rambles in Rhode Island. Woodstock: Backcountry Publications, 1993.