Lincoln Square Theatre
141 N. Main Street,
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The Lincoln Square Theatre was built in 1916 by the local architectual firm of Aschauer and Waggoner. The design was in the Art Nouveau and Beaux Arts style popular of that time. It was opened October 31, 1916.
The Lincoln Square Theatre was designed similar in appearance to the ornate opera houses of the early-20th century. The theatre originally seated nearly 1,400 people and presented live theatre, concerts, opera, as well as vaudeville and silent films. It was considered a fireproof theatre and is constructed of steel and concrete and fireproof brick. It was equipped with a Barton theatre organ which had two 3 manual consoles.
Many of the most famous performers of the early decades of the 20th century tread the boards at the Lincoln Square Theatre, including Houdini, Harry Blackstone, Ethel Barrymore, and Bob Hope.
For many years the Lincoln Theatre (as it was later known, without the “Square”) was leased by the Springfield, Illinois-based Kerasotes movie theatre chain. The stage is quite large and featured two large columns that flanked the stage. The columns were topped by bowls of light held up by seahorses. The auditorium had a mezzanine comprised of box seats and a large third balcony. While much of the theatre’s original plasterwork remains, a great deal of it had been covered up or damaged.
Since the early-1990’s, the Lincoln Square Theatre has been in the midst of an ongoing restoration and renovation project, as funds permit, and much work has already been done to bring this Decatur movie palace back to its original splendor.
While work continues on the Lincoln Square Theatre, the theatre was open and was host to live entertainment, concerts and various special events throughout the year. It was closed in May 2017.
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