Lincoln Theatre

245 E Avenue,
Limon, CO 80828

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MichaelKilgore on October 1, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Was there a second (or third) theater in Limon’s history, or just one that was renamed a few times? The evidence I’ve found supports the latter conclusion.

The first reference I could find to a Limon theater was in the Jan. 5, 1918 Moving Picture World: “Sharon Springs, Kan. – Mrs. Henrietta Pope has sold her picture show and has bought a show at Limon, Colo.” Later that summer, that magazine included the Elite Theatre of Limon in its Pershing Crusader Roll of Honor.

The next news I found was from 1928 issues of Film Daily. Sept. 16: “Limon, Colo. – Free shows are presented at the Auditorium here each Saturday afternoon for the benefit of local merchants.” And in the Nov. 15 issue: “Limon, Colo. – The Auditorium 250-seat house owned by John Blair was destroyed by fire, caused by an overheated furnace.”

Someone rebuilt the Auditorium, because it went through some ownership changes in 1931-32, according to notes in Film Daily.

  • Oct. 20: Closing - Limon - Auditorium.
  • Nov. 19: “Hugo, Colo. - Fay Lieber has sold the Empress to J. H. Wible, owner of the Auditorium in Limon.” (Variety called the owner J. L. Wible.)
  • Nov. 20: Reopening - Limon - Auditorium.
  • Dec. 13: “Limon, Colo. - The Auditorium is again under the ownership and management of John Blair, who leased the house a year ago to the Grand Theater Co. It was recently controlled by J. T. Wible.”
  • Dec. 22: Changes in Ownership: Limon - Auditorium, sold to John Blair.
  • Mar. 8: “Theaters closing in the past week in this district include … the Auditorium, Limon, Colo.”
  • May 28: “Burlington, Colo. - Vincent S. Hennen, part owner of the Midway, and Clarice R. Hamilton of Denver, were married recently at Castle Rock, Colo. They will make their home here. Hennen formerly owned theaters at Durango, Sterling and Limon, Colo.”
  • June 1: “Limon, Colo. - C. W. Sebern has leased the Auditorium and will reopen it after remodeling.”
  • June 22: “Limon - Auditorium, sold to C. W. Sebern by John Blair.”

Variety reported on April 25, 1933 that the Auditorium had closed (again).

On Jan. 15, 1938, Film Daily reported that National Theatre Supply Co.’s Denver office supplied “to the Auditorium Theater, Limon, Colo., two Simplex Acme sound projectors complete and Walker Silversheet sound screen”. Which suggests that the theater was being remodeled or rebuilt but hadn’t changed its name yet.

As JimRankin wrote, the theater’s owner at this point was Egon W. G. Wieselmann. A July 13, 1940 Boxoffice note still called it the Auditorium, but an earlier note in the Motion Picture Herald said it was the Cactus.

The rest of my notes confirm JimRankin’s account. On May 5, 1945, Boxoffice wrote, “John L. Steele, rancher, has bought the Cactus Theatre, Limon, Colo., from E. W. G. Weiselmann, who plans to take a lengthy vacation before returning to the theatre business.” By the end of the year, Showmen’s Trade Review noted that Weiselmann was “operating a manufacturing company in Colorado Springs.” And on Sept. 10, 1949, the STR wrote, “Roy Steele has sold the Cactus, Limon, Colo., to Sam Feinstein and Charles McCarthy.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 27, 2018 at 3:12 am

The “Theaters Under Construction” column of The Film Daily for April 9, 1938, said that the target date for completion of the new Cactus Theatre in Limon, Colorado, was June 30. The architect for the house was Earle A. Deits of Colorado Springs.

kpdennis on January 22, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Current picture newly added to the Photo section.

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on March 27, 2009 at 3:34 am

I visited this theater in April of 2007 and saw “Astronaut Farmer”. Much of Mrs. Steele’s information in her letter above is still correct. The lobby is modern and cheery while the auditorium is very nostalgic and beautiful. They still have a curtain that opens and closes before and after each feature. Mrs. Steele was very kind to me and spent a lot of time visiting with me and showing me around. The booth is accessed from a very strange staircase which is more like a ladder. The booth contains two Brenkert projectors…one runs the trailers reel-to-reel and the other runs the feature off a platter system. Before she goes upstairs and starts the lobby, Mrs. Steele goes up front, introduces the film and gives a run-down of the rules and conduct of the theater and the consequences any offender will face.
Very nice presentation quality. This is a fun and historic theater to visit.

JimRankin on July 8, 2004 at 2:28 pm

This is one of the few “Reverse” or ‘backwards’ theatres in the world, of which 9 were in the USA and 2 in England, of those that are known. This unusual format had the audience entering the front as usual, but the screen was at their backs as they entered, and the projection room/booth faced them! In some cases it was a construction demanded by the topography, as when the land at the rear sloped up sharply at the rear of the building (as with the DARRESS ( /theaters/1645/ ) and the little LINCOLN in Limon Colorado), but for others as with the WHITEHOUSE in Milwaukee ( /theaters/2642/ ), it was purely a gimmick to make the place memorable in competition with the dozens of other show houses in most communities in the ‘golden days!’ The known Reverse Theatres are:

Existing in the USA, if not also operating:
1) The SEBASTIAN, Ft. Smith, AR ( /theaters/257/ )
2) The DARRESS, Boonton, NJ ( /theaters/1645/ )
3) The LINCOLN, Limon, CO ( /theaters/7595/ )

No longer existing as a theatre, if still standing at all (USA):
4) The PHIEL, St. Petersburg, FL
5) The METROPOLITAN, 3308 W. Lawrence, Chicago, IL (later TERMINAL, METRO)
6) The E.A.R. (for Earl A. Reisden), Chicago, IL ( /theaters/7597/ )
7) The FAMILY, Quincy, IL
8) The HAPPY HOUR, New Orleans, LA
9) The WHITEHOUSE, Milwaukee, WI ( /theaters/2642/ )

These two are known of in England, but status unknown (courtesy of Louis Barfe):
10) The CINEMA ROYAL, Epsom, Surrey (1910—1938)
11) The CINEMA LUXE, Lake, Isle of Wight (1989—?)

And then there is the FOX Theatre, Taft, CA, ( /theaters/7564/ )where one “entered on the side, the back corner, actually,” to round out our little list of eccentric theatres.

JimRankin on July 8, 2004 at 3:44 am

Just found the LINCOLN’s one-page web site, with no history section, but a nice photo of the facade. The admission prices have increased slightly, but that appears to be the only change. This is the link: View link