500 S. Broad Street,
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Previously operated by: Wax Circuit
Previous Names: Dunbar Theatre, Gibson Theatre, Gibson's New Dunbar Theatre
The Dunbar Theatre was opened on December 29, 1919 as a ‘legit’ African American theatre. It presented musical comedy & road shows. It was screening movies from June 1, 1920. It was renamed Gibson Theatre in 1921. Live theatre presentations were still in the programing until 1924, usually presented by the Lafayette Players, a Harlem repertory company. Some movies were also screened. In 1925 it was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual 7 ranks organ. The Gibson Theatre was closed in 1928. It was remodeled with a large vertical sign and modern marquee and reopened on September 24, 1928 as the Gibson’s New Dunbar Theatre, with movies and live acts. This was not successful and it was soon renamed Lincoln Theatre again with movies & stage shows. By February 1932 it was playing double-bill feature movies for an African-American audience. There were also Yiddish shows and finally back again to African-American stage shows. By the early-1940’s it was operated by the Wax Circuit.
The Lincoln Theatre was closed in 1955 and lay vacant for a while. It was purchased by the city for a neighborhood health center to be be built on the site.
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