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The Lincoln Theatre

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117 E Main St, Marion, VA 24354
http://thelincoln.org
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(276) 783-6093 Additional Contacts
 
History: After a business trip to New York in the spring of 1928, Charles Wassum returned to Marion with a dream. One of the areas prominent citizens, Wassum wanted to provide his hometown with two things: an elegant apartment building and a motion-pi...read more
History: After a business trip to New York in the spring of 1928, Charles Wassum returned to Marion with a dream. One of the areas prominent citizens, Wassum wanted to provide his hometown with two things: an elegant apartment building and a motion-picture theater. He set out to complete a building that would be a monument to Marions future. His commitment was no small investment in a town with fewer than 4,000 inhabitants. Wassum built the Royal Oak Apartments, an impressive four-story stone and brick building in downtown Marion. But instead of building the theater, Wassum sold the property behind the apartment building to Charles C. Lincoln, Sr., Marions wealthiest resident and owner of the towns furniture factory. Lincoln had expressed a keen interest in providing an up-to-date theater for Marion. Only one year earlier he had built the General Francis Marion Hotel (visit the restored General Francis Marion Hotel . . . . www.gfmhotel.com), the finest accommodations in the area, and on a recent trip to Atlantic City, his attention was captured by a large theater. The interior of the theater had been designed by New Yorks Novelty Scenic Studios, and he immediately hired the firm to decorate his new palace. But Lincoln was never to see his dream completed. After several months of construction by the firm of Eubank & Caldwell, Charles Lincoln died of pneumonia. Work on the $150,000 project continued under the direction of Lincolns sons, Charles C. Lincoln, Jr. and John D. Lincoln. They had inherited control of their fathers industrial enterprises. The Lincoln Theatres Art Deco interior was designed to evoke images of an ancient Mayan temple. The unusual auditorium was embellished with painted appliqus of exotic creatures and mythological gods. In juxtaposition to this stylized architecture, six enormous murals (View the murals...) depicting scenes from national and local history were painted and installed. A local artist, Lola Poston, was paid $50 for each painting ( read about the artist...). A soaring cove-lit ceiling, modern lighting and projection equipment, and luxurious appointments made The Lincoln Theatre the premier movie theater of southwest Virginia. When The Lincoln Theatre opened on July 1, 1929, nearly 1,000 patrons packed in to see Close Harmony, starring Buddy Rogers and Nancy Carroll. It was the first talking picture many had ever seen. Hundreds were turned away at the box office because the 750-seat theater could not accommodate them. Thousands of motion pictures flickered across the screen, exposing Smyth Countians to the offerings of Hollywood. Fans of westerns saw their favorite stars Roy Rogers (and Trigger), Dale Evans, Lash LaRue, Randolf Scott, Sunset Carson, Hopalong Cassidy, Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger, Gabbey Hayes in person on The Lincolns stage. Nashvilles top celebrities, including Minnie Pearl, Earnest Tubb, Del Wood, Roy Acuff, June Carter Cash, The Stanley Brothers, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Stringbean, Little Jimmie Dickens, and Grandpa Jones, also visited. The Lincoln Theatre operated for 44 years before its first closing in December of 1973. In the mid-1970s, the theater reopened briefly, but the few customers who came could not sustain its operation. The building and its systems fell into severe disrepair. On August 28, 1977, the theater closed with the 1974 adventure film, When the North Wind Blows. In the late 1970s, The Lincoln Theatre Foundation obtained the structure with hopes of preserving the building, which sat neglected until the 1990s when the initiative was revived. The success of this renewed effort became evident in the raising of more than $1.8 million. A regional firm was chosen to restore the dilapidated building, and hundreds of volunteers were enlisted to aid in the extensive structural and decorative reconstruction. A state-of-the-art sound-and-lighting system was installed, and the huge murals were removed one-by-one for painstaking restoration at a cost of $20,000 eac
 
 

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History: After a business trip to New York in the spring of 1928, Charles Wassum returned to Marion with a dream. One of the areas prominent citizens, Wassum wanted to provide his hometown with two things: an elegant apartment building and a motion-picture theater. He set out to complete a building that would be a monument to Marions future. His commitment was no small investment in a town with fewer than 4,000 inhabitants. Wassum built the Royal Oak Apartments, an impressive four-story stone and brick building in downtown Marion. But instead of building the theater, Wassum sold the property behind the apartment building to Charles C. Lincoln, Sr., Marions wealthiest resident and owner of the towns furniture factory. Lincoln had expressed a keen interest in providing an up-to-date theater for Marion. Only one year earlier he had built the General Francis Marion Hotel (visit the restored General Francis Marion Hotel . . . . www.gfmhotel.com), the finest accommodations in the area, and on a recent trip to Atlantic City, his attention was captured by a large theater. The interior of the theater had been designed by New Yorks Novelty Scenic Studios, and he immediately hired the firm to decorate his new palace. But Lincoln was never to see his dream completed. After several months of construction by the firm of Eubank & Caldwell, Charles Lincoln died of pneumonia. Work on the $150,000 project continued under the direction of Lincolns sons, Charles C. Lincoln, Jr. and John D. Lincoln. They had inherited control of their fathers industrial enterprises. The Lincoln Theatres Art Deco interior was designed to evoke images of an ancient Mayan temple. The unusual auditorium was embellished with painted appliqus of exotic creatures and mythological gods. In juxtaposition to this stylized architecture, six enormous murals (View the murals...) depicting scenes from national and local history were painted and installed. A local artist, Lola Poston, was paid $50 for each painting ( read about the artist...). A soaring cove-lit ceiling, modern lighting and projection equipment, and luxurious appointments made The Lincoln Theatre the premier movie theater of southwest Virginia. When The Lincoln Theatre opened on July 1, 1929, nearly 1,000 patrons packed in to see Close Harmony, starring Buddy Rogers and Nancy Carroll. It was the first talking picture many had ever seen. Hundreds were turned away at the box office because the 750-seat theater could not accommodate them. Thousands of motion pictures flickered across the screen, exposing Smyth Countians to the offerings of Hollywood. Fans of westerns saw their favorite stars Roy Rogers (and Trigger), Dale Evans, Lash LaRue, Randolf Scott, Sunset Carson, Hopalong Cassidy, Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger, Gabbey Hayes in person on The Lincolns stage. Nashvilles top celebrities, including Minnie Pearl, Earnest Tubb, Del Wood, Roy Acuff, June Carter Cash, The Stanley Brothers, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Stringbean, Little Jimmie Dickens, and Grandpa Jones, also visited. The Lincoln Theatre operated for 44 years before its first closing in December of 1973. In the mid-1970s, the theater reopened briefly, but the few customers who came could not sustain its operation. The building and its systems fell into severe disrepair. On August 28, 1977, the theater closed with the 1974 adventure film, When the North Wind Blows. In the late 1970s, The Lincoln Theatre Foundation obtained the structure with hopes of preserving the building, which sat neglected until the 1990s when the initiative was revived. The success of this renewed effort became evident in the raising of more than $1.8 million. A regional firm was chosen to restore the dilapidated building, and hundreds of volunteers were enlisted to aid in the extensive structural and decorative reconstruction. A state-of-the-art sound-and-lighting system was installed, and the huge murals were removed one-by-one for painstaking restoration at a cost of $20,000 eac