Lincoln Square Theatre

17 Kentucky Avenue,
Indianapolis, IN

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The Lincoln Square opened in 1908 as the Family Theatre, was later named the Rialto and in 1923 became the Lincoln Square.

The first known charge of showing an obscene film in Indianapolis was while the theatre was known as the Rialto. As President of the Indianapolis Church Federation a Mr. M.C. Pearson saw the film and demanded the court to take action. A Jury reviewd the movie on Oct 2, and deamed the film not obscene. The film then played for two weeks following the decision.

The theatre had two entrances, one being on Kentucky Avenue and the other on South Illinois. The Family used both entrances but the Rialto and the Lincoln Square used the entrance on Kentucky Avenue. As the Kentucky Theatre it was one of the leading vaudeville theatres during its prime.

Could not find a time line as to when the theatre was closed or demolished.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm

An item in the June 14, 1919, issue of Domestic Engineering mentioned the recently-remodeled New Rialto Theatre at Indianapolis. It gave the location of the theater as Kentucky Avenue and Washington Street. Today, these streets no longer intersect, which has confused Google Maps.

The actual location of the Lincoln Square Theatre would have been on the block just southwest of the modern intersection of Washington and Illinois Streets in downtown Indianapolis. This is the block now occupied by the Indianapolis Hyatt Regency Hotel. Several blocks of Kentucky Avenue were eliminated for the construction of the enormous Indiana Convention Center and associated buildings. The Hyatt was completed in 1977, but the theater could have been gone for many years before the hotel was built.

Several old maps of Indianapolis showing the former alignment of Kentucky Avenue can be seen at this page on the web site of the University of Alabama.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 25, 2013 at 7:14 am

The best way to get Google Maps to fetch something close to the proper location for this theater would be to give the address as Washington and Illinois Streets. Here is an item about the opening of the rebuilt theater as the Rialto from the August 5, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The Rialto theater, Indianapolis, has been opened. The new house is at the intersection of three streets at the busiest downtown corner. The interior is striking. It probably has the largest number of lights in use of any theater in the state. A Seeberg piano is being installed.”
The third street refereed to in the item was, of course, Kentucky Avenue, this section of which has since been obliterated.

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