Lincoln Square Theatre

141 N. Main Street,
Decatur, IL 62523

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Showing 24 comments

Trolleyguy on February 9, 2023 at 9:19 am

According to the website classic movies should be added to functions.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2023 at 10:34 pm

The first names of the architects were Charles J. Aschauer and Arthur M. Waggoner.

Trolleyguy on September 2, 2022 at 10:08 am

Now open again and scheduling concerts. Updated website link: Lincoln Square

DavidZornig on June 22, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Glimpse of the marquee in a 1952 photo added courtesy of the AmeriCar The Beautiful Facebook page.

rivest266 on February 10, 2016 at 6:29 pm

This opened on October 31st, 1916. Grand opening ad from a week before in photo section.

LIRefugee on February 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm

It seems that as of February 2, the theatre is up for sale. A full explanation can be found on the website . It seems that the it has faces a host of issues, including botched renovations, lightning strikes, and insurance fraud, with the loss of grant money thrown in.

Part of the botched renovation included the non-replacement of the heating system, and a poorly working heating system has caused the theatre to remain closed until March of this year. It’s a shame.

0123456789 on August 12, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Its burned in 1960.

Ramova7719 on June 17, 2010 at 8:11 pm

What happend to the front and the side of the building?

TLSLOEWS on February 3, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Nice pitcure Chuck1231.

dave-bronx™ on December 20, 2008 at 12:38 am

This theatre was featured on “Most Terrifying Places in America” on the Travel Channel Friday evening (12/19). Apparently it has a reputation for being haunted. The balcony and a spiral stairway backstage are particularly active. The theatre is built on the site of a hotel that had burned down, claiming a number of lives.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on August 18, 2008 at 5:34 pm

A view of the Lincoln Theater in Decatur while it was closed and for sale can be seen here and here.

RobertEndres on June 5, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Publix refers to one of the midwest’s largest chains: Paramount Publix/Balaban & Katz/Great States Theatres. The Chicago theatres were known as B & K houses, and downstate Publix Great States. They were also affiliated with the American Broadcasting Company, and at one point were ABPT Theatres (American Broadcasting Paramount Theatres). Originally part of the Paramount chain, they were divorced by the consent decrees of the late ‘40’s and early '50’s. Eventually, Henry Plitt who worked with Leonard Goldenson at ABC as an executive with the chain’s Southern theatres took over the chain and they became Plitt Theatres. As noted above, when the Plitt circuit disolved, Kerasotes Theatres of Springfield, IL. acquired many of the downstate Publix Great States sites including this one. Fox didn’t have a major presence in the Midwest as they had in other states, so the Lincoln Square would have been a likely site for a Mickey Mouse club.

The ties between Paramount/ABC the theatres were so involved that in Chicago the ABC affiliate was located in the B & K State Lake Theatre building(and now occupies the space the theatre itself had) and had the call letters WBKB for Balaban & Katz Broadcasting.

Growing up in a small downstate Illinois town which had a Publix Great States Theatre and an independent house, even after the consent decree, I don’t remember the independent ever playing a Paramount picture. On the other hand, it had an arrangement with Warners Bros. for picture exclusivity, and until it burned in the ‘60’s I never saw a Warner logo on the screen at the Publix house.

disneydave on May 28, 2008 at 4:31 pm

I recently acquired a 1932 herald announcing the formation of the Mickey Mouse Club at the Publix Lincoln Theatre in Decatur. The herald is 2 doublesided pages and contains a facsimile of the memberhip card and an example of one of the club pins.

Is the Publix Lincoln the same theatre as this one? What does the Publix stand for? Were they a chain? Usually the MM Clubs were organized at Fox theaters. Thanks much. David

gossgrfx on October 15, 2007 at 9:31 pm

The Lincoln Square Theatre has an all-new website. The site was launched today, October 15th, 2007, and it has loads of info on the history and renovation of the theatre, as well as photo galleries of notable performances and the progress of the restoration efforts.

You can visit us at

Stop by and let us know what you think!

NativeForestHiller on July 19, 2007 at 8:32 pm

Will the next phase of restoration include the rebuilding of the 2nd-story facade, and a replacement for those lackluster aluminum storm doors?

DaveWiegers on March 5, 2007 at 5:27 pm

he first part of the renovation has been completed and the city of Decatur has given the theatre’s not-for-profit corporation its blessing to reopen.
Much infrastructure work has been accomplished. New HVAC systems were installed and new bathrooms put in, including a handicapped accessible restroom on the main floor middle lobby. Dressing rooms and a new green room were built under the stage.
Evergreen Studios has done extensive work in the newly restored middle lobby as well as in the back lobby and in the auditorium, where the prescenium arch and one of fronts of the mezzanone box seas were repainted to match original colors.
There is much left to do in the next phase of the restortion.

saegerjon on June 26, 2006 at 8:17 pm

New Article about the restoration of the theater from the Herald & Review today. Here is the link:
View link

Nice picture of the “teaser"that they are doing.

NativeForestHiller on May 23, 2006 at 4:13 pm

Do restoration plans include rebuilding the entire facade which would bring back its 2nd story? Anything less is not a restoration in my opinion. The photo on top of this thread is what I hope the theater will look like once the theater is restored. Please let me know.

DaveWiegers on April 10, 2006 at 1:50 pm

The front of the Lincoln was damaged in the early 1960’s when the building next door caught on fire. The upper story of the facade and the lobby were to damaged to fix so the top was removed and the two story front became a one story.

JohnMessick on February 15, 2006 at 5:31 pm

Its ashame that the photo at the top of this page, doesn’t in anyway look like the photo that Lost Memory posted. The photo above gives the building some statue. Why would you ever destroy a building like that.

haydiz on January 12, 2006 at 8:23 am

I had the opportunity to work on the web site for local playwright Nick Vlachos who donated proceeds from his play “The Bed” to the reconstruction efforts of the Lincoln Square Theatre. More information about the theatre and its history can be found at:

bruceesmith on October 30, 2004 at 9:32 pm

The Lincoln Square Theatre was originally a Balaban and Katz theatre. I worked as an usher while in high school (1963) and later became the theatre manager from 1969-1971. At that time it was a part of ABC Great States Theatres, whose main offices were in the Chicago Theatre in Chicago. The Lincoln became a part of Kerasotes Theatres around 1973 or 1974. Theu operated it for just a few years before closing operations. bsmith

DBWiegers on August 19, 2004 at 5:34 pm

The WAND-TV story mentions the comments from the local Republican state representative Bill Mitchell(our governor is currently a Democrat but in 2002 when the grant was approved the governor was a Republican) stating the money would be better spent on schools or firehouses. Few would argue agaisnt a statement that schools and firehouses are a higher priority. What the TV reporter failed to mention is that the monies came from a special state fund that is legally and specifically earmarked for projects like the Lincoln project and not for schools and firehouses. There are other places in the state budget that cover those important structures.

The money was going to be spent so it was decided that Decatur was a better place to spend it than elsewhere in the state, such as Chicago.

You gotta love politics.