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Interior of
Lincoln Theatre
Photo courtesy of the BurWill Construction Company (http://www.burwil.com/index.cgi?CONTEXT=

The Lincoln Theatre, located on Main Street in the heart of downtown Marion, is a rare surviving example of an ornate moving picture palace that first opened to the public in 1929 and closed in 1977. The three-story brick cinema still retains its original integrity, with most of its decorative features intact. The theater building has no façade and is not visible from Main Street because it is located behind the Royal Oak Apartment House. These adjacent buildings are separate and distinct structures that share an interior wall and main entrance. An unusual cooperative arrangement, made when the buildings were conceived, allows access to the theater via a broad arcade on the ground floor of the apartment house.

The theater, except for eight attached garages, occupies all of the one-fifth-acre lot on which it was built. There is nothing of architectural interest in the exterior brick walls, but the interior of the theater, designed to suggest a Mayan temple, is most remarkable and unique in this section of Virginia. Three-dimensional appliqués and stenciled Mayan designs and glyphs cover the walls, the proscenium arch, the columns and the ceilings of the theater. Even more outstanding are six large paintings, depicting scenes from American and local history, which are located on each side of the auditorium and framed in a unique manner. Conceived and designed as an elaborate theater set by the Novelty Scenic Studios of New York City, the interior walls and decorations are constructed of composite fiberboard, which was painted and textured to resemble plaster and stone blocks.

The Lincoln Theatre is located at 117 E. Main St. in Marion. The Lincoln Theatre, Inc. is a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting cultural arts in Southwest Virginia, and to renovating a historically significant space to house arts performances, education and exhibits. The theater is scheduled to open in the spring of 2004 for performances. For more information, please call 276-783-6092 or visit the theater's website.

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