In April 1926, the Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon opens for business. Located at 712 S 1st Street, the venue costs roughly $100,000 to build, almost 25 percent of which represents the purchase of a Wurlitzer organ. Designed by architect William Aitken, the Lincoln exhibited a Spanish motif inside and out, with an interior swathed in blues, yellows, and reds.
Furnishings and equipment for the venue cost a reported $32,500, making the Lincoln not only one of the most impressive buildings in Mount Vernon, but a genuine source of local pride. “Nothing like it has ever been constructed before,” gushed one paper, “... the theatrical world is setting back astounded.”
In addition to screening motion pictures through the years, the Lincoln also distinguished itself as a vaudeville house, particularly in the 1930s when it was part of the West Coast vaudeville circuit. Proving the old business adage that success is a function of location, it was a considerable help that the city of Mount Vernon is nicely situated between the larger theatrical stopovers of Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle.
Although the Lincoln closed in the mid-1980s and faced an uncertain future, local groups rallied behind the venue and established the Lincoln Theatre Center Foundation. A tax-exempt organization, the Foundation engineered the restoration and reopening of the Lincoln in 1987, in large part due to the fundraising and volunteer efforts of the greater Mount Vernon community.
Today (2003) the Lincoln Theatre continues to serve the residents of Mount Vernon as a local performing arts center.