Careful regulation of the natural and man-made environment has allowed Lincoln to remain surprisingly pastoral in character. Formed from sections of Concord, Watertown, and Cambridge that were originally deemed too distant, Lincoln incorporated in 1754 as Niptown. The civic center formed around the first meetinghouse (1747), from which highways radiated to surrounding towns. Despite several sawmills and attempts at marble quarrying, the town depended on agriculture. The contraction of the Fitchburg Railroad through South Lincoln in 1844 opened the Boston markets to local produce. In the final quarter of the nineteenth century, immigrants arrived to work the farms and wealthy Bostonians discovered the town as a site for country estates and suburban homes. With the addition of an important group of modernist houses built in the mid-twentieth century, the town still retains its bucolic charm.
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