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.
The Lincoln Square was designed similar in appearance to the ornate opera houses of the early 20th century. The theater originally seated nearly 1400 people and presented live theater, concerts, opera, as well as vaudeville and silent films. It was considered a fireproof theater and is constructed of steel and concrete and fireproof brick.
Many of the most famous performers of the early decades of the 20th century tread the boards at the Lincoln Square, including Houdini, Harry Blackstone, Ethel Barrymore, and Bob Hope.
For many years the Lincoln (as it was later known, without the “Square”) was leased by the Springfield, Illinois-based Kerasotes movie theater 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 theater’s original plasterwork remains, a great deal of it had been covered up or damaged.
Since the early 1990s, the Lincoln Square 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, the theater is open and is host to live entertainment, concerts and various special events throughout the year.
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