When the 1,400-seat Lincoln Theatre was built in 1921, it became one of the city's grand theatrical venues. The Lincoln Theatre was in the center of what has been referred to as "Black Broadway." Unfortunately, while many theaters of this era were modified for movies, the Lincoln Theatre deteriorated, as did its surrounding neighborhood. Hoping to encourage a neighborhood economic resurgence, the District of Columbia selected Leo A Daly to design and engineer the Theatre's renovation and restore its elegant features.
Although the design team knew of the original building's classical street facade, it was not until elements of previous interior renovations were removed that opulent original details surfaced. The team retained many of the Lincoln Theatre's historical details, researching original designer Reginald Geare's drawings, construction techniques prevalent in 1921 and archival paint colors. New equipment and features were installed concurrently.
This Washington landmark is now a restored example of the movie palaces of the early 1920s. It has also stimulated revitalization of its surrounding neighborhood with a new subway stop, cafes, shops and office buildings, as well as nearby residential renewal.