An ideal home for a hermit
"Before this, the biggest thing that ever happened
in this town was the Firemen's Ball."
— Jack Ward, Lincoln resident
The only traffic light in Lincoln, Mont., is a yellow flasher marking the town's main intersection.
Jobs are scarce and the winters harsh — factors which have limited its population to about 1,100 people year-round.
Indeed, most Americans probably never would have heard of Lincoln, about 55 miles northwest of Helena, had an 18-year, $50 million search for a killer not brought the eyes of the nation to the town straddling Highway 200 in a windy valley at the base of the Continental Divide.
"Let's face it," resident Jack Ward told reporters in 1996. "This was big for Lincoln."
Before authorities carted away suspected Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, the town attracted only seasonal recreational traffic — cross-country skiers and snowmobilers in winter, getaway-cabin owners in summer.
In the winter, temperatures routinely drop to 50 below zero in Lincoln, which is surrounded by federal lands filled with elk, deer, moose, mountain lions and bears.
Those conditions make it an ideal place for people in search of privacy, residents have said.
"We get a lot of weirdos in this town because people don't get into each other's business," said Krissy Hagen, a Lincoln native, after Kaczynski's arrest. "I've always said that if you want to hide, this is the place to go."
Local businessman Wayne Cashman agreed. "This is a great place to hide," he told The Associated Press. "If you get fed up with society, you come here and get away from all of it."