Lincoln Theatre

500 W. 5th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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Additional Info

Architects: James R. Stewart, Robert W. Stewart

Firms: Stewart & Stewart

Nearby Theaters

Lincoln Theatre

The Lincoln Theatre opened on Christmas Eve, 1913, located on W. 5th Street at John Street. It was originally a combination house (vaudeville and movies,) though it also hosted a stock company for a while in the 1910’s. The Lincoln Theatre was one of the earliest theaters in Cincinnati to be owned and operated by African Americans, and it catered to an African American audience.

The Indianapolis-based newspaper The Freeman reported on the opening of the house, saying the the Lincoln Theatre was “…the prettiest little playhouse in the city.” The building was of concrete construction, with interior woodwork, including the seats, all of mahogany.

The Lincoln Theatre was closed in 1957. The old west end of Cincinnati, including the site of the Lincoln Theatre, has been largely obliterated by the construction of the massive interchange of Interstate Highways 71 and 75.

Contributed by Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Chuck, the Google Map on this page doesn’t show Cincinnati. It doesn’t even show Ohio. It shows a small Wisconsin town called Reedsville.

If you zoom in on the Google map of Cincinnati, you’ll find a small fragment of John Street still exists, buried inside the highway interchange, and running a block and a half north from 3rd Street. It no longer intersects with 5th Street.

Google Maps will probably never be able to find this theater’s location. 5th Street has been replaced by an offramp. The neighborhood is entirely gone.

But I find it inexplicable that Google Maps can’t even find downtown Cincinnati from the zip code on this page. It had no trouble finding Cincinnati for the Pekin Theatre page (even though the map there puts the pin icon on East 5th instead of West 5th, where the theater actually was. The Pekin was just down the block from the Lincoln.)

I also don’t know why the name of the Lincoln’s architectural firm isn’t showing. It was designed by Stewart & Stewart, already listed at Cinema Treasures as architects of the Nordland Theatre.

hanksykes on April 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

As listed by Joe Vogel the site map on this site is of the wrong city and area. The Lincoln was located where Interstate 75 now sits.

dallasmovietheaters on September 7, 2016 at 10:48 am

Mentions about the Lincoln Theatre end in 1957. In 1958, the Kenyon-Barr Urban Renewal project targets the West End African American business district for urban renewal to build Interstate 75. In 1960, bulldozers are said to have cleared Fifth Street and Sixth at John Street likely doing in the Lincoln Theatre, Cordelia Hotel, Sky Pharmacy, and many other African American mainstays. If you follow the line from John Street at Third Street today to what just yards east of Interstate 75, you’ll have the spot of the former Lincoln.

hanksykes on March 12, 2019 at 5:25 pm

Joe Vogel Thanks so much for a picture& info on the long gone Lincoln Theater!

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