Lincoln Theatre

1215 U Street NW,
Washington, DC 20009

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Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments

fred1 on February 19, 2020 at 5:40 am

Saw the Great Artie Lange at the Lincoln.

DavidZornig on November 6, 2018 at 8:50 pm

1925 postcard added credit Lost Washington, D.C. Facebook page.

rivest266 on July 1, 2015 at 9:20 am

2nd screen opened on March 8th, 1977.

lesbrown0 on April 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I’m glad to see the old building still standing. Havn’t stepped inside since 1968.

Giles on December 18, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Landmark Theater is renting out the theater and bringing back movies to the Lincoln with ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ starting Wednesday (Dec. 21)

JackCoursey on January 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Stunningly beautiful both inside and out! Photo from 2009 of the exterior:
Lincoln Theatre

teecee on November 13, 2009 at 11:42 am

Refer to the “mini debate” posted above in June 2005.

The debate is resolved. The linked photo is currently on display in the Smithsonian American History museum as part of the “Picturing the Promise” exhibition. The caption states that the patrons were indeed protesting the treatment of african americans in the movie Gone with the Wind.

EcRocker on March 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm

The snow on the ground must have been close to the time Obama called the DC Board of Ed whips for closing the schools. Being raised in NYC Obama was funny but right. In NYC schools would be open unless there was at least a foot or more of snow on the ground.

As to the picture the snow and the wet streets gives it a nice feel.

EcRocker on January 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm

SOunds like a plan. Where do you live? Let me know if you do head out this way. Maybe we can find others on CT and have a live CT meet.

EcRocker on January 29, 2009 at 7:50 pm

You should come down here and see some of these places for your self. The Lincoln restoration looks awesome from the outside. It looks like the past came to life when you see when you see this almost 90 year old gem sparkle.

EcRocker on January 24, 2009 at 12:55 am

Bens has been in the news recently when President Obama anf the DC Mayor had lunch there before inaugaration day. Bens also operates a stand at the Nationals Baseball park in DC

EcRocker on January 19, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Wow Lost imagine what life was like back then. I have been down this way a little over 6 years now and although there has been a big resurgence of the Shaw area there are a few rough spots. Even in my short time in this area I have seen beat up homes turn in to gems and new businesses taking shape. Now if and when the Howard gets it’s face lift that will be another boost to the neighborhood.

kencmcintyre on December 23, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Here is an excerpt from a Washington Post article dated 7/16/22:

Lincoln, Largest of Its Kind, to Be Managed by Prominent Men of Race

Crandall’s Lincoln theater, 1215 U Street Northwest, the largest playhouse in the United States for colored patrons, will be reopened tomorrow night under the management of a board of directors composed of prominent professional men of the colored race in Washington.

rlvjr on June 18, 2008 at 2:17 pm

The ARENA STAGE will be using the LINCOLN for at least 4 of this year’s plays or musicals. Just advertised today 6/18/08.

Giles on May 31, 2007 at 5:48 am

a read a news story from last year that the theatre was running into some risk that they might be able to remain open. I guess that was solved – it’s too bad that the only time I go to this theatre, it’s for the annual Reel Affirmations Film Festival in the Fall. Whoever the booker is, needs to find a way to get more diverse live acts/bands to perform there.

rlvjr on December 31, 2006 at 6:55 pm

DON’T CRY for the LINCOLN. This theatre is alive and well, offering a limited number of stage shows including some big name Black stars. The neighborhood is seriously on the rebound, as block after block of formerly decaying townhouses have undergone big time renovation.

RayBentley on January 23, 2006 at 1:34 pm

During the 1980’s I rented the Lincoln theatre once a month and featured all night movies, usually martial arts, blaxploitation or horrorthons. The shows would start at midnight and last until dawn, and occassionally we would include a hardcore sex film at the end to wake everybody up. We always drew from 1500 to 2500 each weekend and often held the same shows in Baltimore (at the Hippodrome). The theatre was a twin, so we would show movies both up and down and rotate the prints.

rlvjr on October 2, 2005 at 7:40 pm

The Black theaters on U Street were usually cheaper than the White ones on F Street, but in the case of GWTW in 1939 the admission at LOEW’S PALACE for Evening Shows was also $1.10 —– indeed expensive enough in 1939 to make folks angry. A middle class government job like a GS-12 paid $800 a year in 1939.
Amazingly, in New York at the glorious LOEW’S CAPITOL THEATRE on Broadway the price was also $1.10 at night. New York prices were almost always double the Washington price back then. Reserved seats at the ASTOR on Broadway were $1.10 to $2.20.
In summary, the price for GWTW at the Lincoln was enough to rate a picket line.
Nobody was “offended” by GWTW in 1939 except concerning the final line, “Frankly, m'dear, I don’t give a DAMN!” It wasn’t until recently that liberal wacko’s started to badmouth GWTW for depicting slavery (ohmygod, slavery! in the South! in 1861! SHOCKING!!!) In 1939 it was big news that HATTIE McDANIEL was the first Black to win an Oscar, and Black folks were honored with that; not offended.

rlvjr on July 31, 2005 at 8:54 am

For most of its life the LINCOLN was the #1 and best First Run movie theatre for the Black audience and ran the top pictures simultaneously with the “white” theatres on F Street. Although the so-called white theatres didn’t actually deny Blacks admission, it was commonly assumed they did. When segregation ended, Blacks tended to see movies elsewhere and the LINCOLN closed. The historical markers regarding the LINCOLN’s past as a LIVE theatre tend to fib. Most Black stars actually appeared not at the LINCOLN, but at the more famous (and now delapidated) HOWARD a few blocks east. It’s not likely that any person alive today ever saw a LIVE show at the old LINCOLN, but hundreds remember the HOWARD —– as do I.

teecee on June 15, 2005 at 4:03 am

My initial guess would be that they were denied entry or had to sit in segregated seats …. but, the main description of this theater claims it was used exclusively for black audiences. If this is true, then I believe they were picketing the movie itself and its portrayal of black people. Look at the signs the people are carrying, they seem to be targeting the movie.

teecee on June 15, 2005 at 2:30 am

Another old photo courtesy of the Smithsonian:
View link

Exterior view, shows marquee advertising movie “Personal Property (1937)”, with Jean Harlow and Robert Taylor.

teecee on June 15, 2005 at 2:22 am

Picketing Gone With The Wind at the theater:
View link

Courtesty of the Smithsonian.

Summary: Complete caption quoted above in ink on verso of print A. Print B is marked “Picketing at Lincoln Theater / late 40s”.

Scope and Content: The movie being picketed is “Gone with the Wind.” Several figures carry signs with messages such as “A dollar and ten ‘gone…with the wind”. Print is on resin-coated paper, so is probably a much later restrike print by Robert Scurlock, ca. 1970s.

Cite as: Scurlock Studio Records, ca. 1905-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Subject-Topical: Civil rights
Civil rights demonstrations — Washington (D.C.) — 1940-1950.
Demonstrations — Washington (D.C.).

barkas4 on March 23, 2005 at 4:48 pm

Geare also designed the Knickerbocker Theater in Washington D.C. in 1921. It collapsed in a snowstorm in 1922 and killed 98 people. My grandfather lost his arm while he was there in the orchestra. His brother, the conductor died. Geare later committed suicide.

veyoung52 on March 23, 2005 at 3:35 am

I dearly remember the “U” street theatres…Republic, BookerT. The last time I was in the Lincoln was around 1962. The occasion was the run of “West Side Story,” concurrent with the roadshow at another house on roadshow (probably the Uptown or Ontario). I remember that the operator kept the anamorphic lens (or attachment) on for the pre-feature stuff…the cartoon and the newsreel. The cartoon, especially, didn’t look too bad.

MediaQueen on March 22, 2005 at 8:20 pm

During the late 70s, triple features of black exploitation films and/or horror films was what The Lincoln Theater was known for featuring. I know ‘cause I was there many times as a kid.