Lincoln Theatre

512 W. Church Street,
Orlando, FL 32801

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Lincoln Theatre, Orlando, FL

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The Lincoln Theatre was Orlando’s long-standing establishment theatre for the African-American community during the era of segregation. It was opened March 31, 1937.

It was demolished when nearby S. Division Avenue was widened in the 1960’s

Contributed by Irv Lipscomb

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Samuel Augustus Jennings
Samuel Augustus Jennings on April 12, 2009 at 2:23 am

The Lincoln Theater was not affected by construction of Interstate 4, but closed due to economics and the shift of Orlando’s black population to Washington Shores, west of Orange Blossom Trail. The theater was owned by the Gordon family who also owned the newer Carver Theater less than three blocks away on Church and Parramore. The Carver, Lincoln, and Washington Shores Drive-In Theater competed against each other by running the same second-run features. Crafty Black youngsters set up seats behind the white-only Orlando Drive-In on Gore and the SOBT and watched newer movies (without sound) for free. Integration of movie houses in 1963 eventually closed the Carver. During its last days the Lincoln Theater was dirty and rat-infested, but served the best food.

irvl
irvl on April 13, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Per documents I came across today, the Lincoln opened on March 31, 1937.

Samuel Augustus Jennings
Samuel Augustus Jennings on April 13, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Thanks for the info. Are you Daddy Lipscomb? The last movie I remember seeing at the Lincoln Theater was “Queen of Outer Space” starring Zsa Zsa Gabor in 1958. Do you remember what year it closed? I loved the old Lincoln because it had character and was kind of spooky…and I was in love with one of the older girls who worked the concession.

I miss the Lincoln, Frazier’s coffee shop, Sugar Bowl, Jazzette record store and all the street life that made Church and Parramore streets sizzle. But most of all I miss our little African-American village where I felt safe..and where fights were won by the best pair of fists.

irvl
irvl on April 14, 2009 at 3:43 am

SAJ: I made an appointment with the Orange County History Center today to see what they had on Orlando’s theatres in their files. I found a picture from the SENTINEL-STAR, dated March 28, 1937, showing the soon to be opened Lincoln Theatre. You can contact me at .com if you’d like a copy of it.

Samuel Augustus Jennings
Samuel Augustus Jennings on April 15, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Where could colored people see a picture show in Orlando before the Lincoln Theater opened in 1937?

irvl
irvl on February 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Please change the date of construction and opening in the description for this theatre to 1937.

Samuel Augustus Jennings
Samuel Augustus Jennings on March 18, 2014 at 8:15 pm

I-4 was 4 or 5 blocks from the Lincoln block and did not impact the theater in any way. The Lincoln Theater was demolished when nearby Division Street was widened in the 60’s.

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