The Lincoln Theatre

Lincoln Theatre in Limon, Colorado is certainly memorable for at least one quality: it is one of the few “reverse” or ‘backwards’ theatres in the world. Turns out that when it was built in 1938, the then owner of this cinema which he called the Cactus, wanted to save $300 in excavation fees, and so had the simple rectangular building situated so that the slope of the seats was upon the higher grade of the land at the rear, and had patrons enter via front doors on the lower grade at the street level at 245 ‘E’ Ave. Yes, the audience had to go up the aisles towards the rear and turn around to see the movie on the screen since the seats faced that way, of course. This ‘reverse’ format was only used in nine other cinemas in the USA, as far as is known, and in possibly only two in England. The Cactus (now the Lincoln) was built in 1938 by Egon W. G. Wieselmann. It was sold in 1945 to John L. Steele. He ran the movie house until 1947 when his son, Johnny Steele took over. Then in 1949 it was sold to Sam Feinstein and Charles McCarthy. They changed the name to the Lincoln Theatre in January of 1950. In 1951, Mr. McCarthy’s wife, Wanna, took over running the theatre and she and her husband were the owners until July of 1984 when it was sold to Marlene and Larry Steele (no relation to John L). In 1991 the carbon arc lamp houses were replaced with used 1961 Strong Xenon lamp houses. The Steele's decided to retire form the movie business in 2011 and the theater passed into the hands the Your Community Foundation which runs it for the area as a non-profit. The projection equipment was upgraded to modern all digital gear and the old projectors retired. One of the original projectors is on display at Oscar's Restaurant on the West edge of town.