The Lincoln Theatre, a restored 1926 historic vaudeville & silent movie house in downtown Mount Vernon, presents a year-round schedule of concerts, current and classic films, and community events. The theatre works with local school districts, hosting school performances and workshops by performing artists on tour, as well as annual concerts by secondary school bands. The theatre hosts concerts by the local youth symphony, presents community-sponsored children?s theatre productions, as well as serving as a venue for fund-raising events by local service organizations. The Lincoln Theatre Center Foundation, founded in 1987, is a registered non-profit organization supported by over 2000 members from Skagit and adjoining counties.
Cost of Building: $100,000
Cost of Organ: $22,500
Cost of Furnishings & Equipment: $32,500
Weekly Payroll: $160
When the Lincoln Theatre was built, it was hailed for its originality and beauty. The Argus reported on May 13, 1926, "Nothing like it has ever been constructed before...the theatrical world is setting back astounded."
The Lincoln is what's called a period theater, which were in vogue around the time it was built. Some theaters built in the twenties had an Egyptian motif; one Seattle theater had a Chinese motif, but the Lincoln was a little different for the Northwest; it had a Spanish motif.
Manager Edwin Halberg ignored the pleas of his friends that he follow the crowd and make it Egyptian. He foresaw a time when movie fans would tire of such a motif. He personally designed the luxurious carpet, the decorative effect on the walls, the hangings and draperies, and the lighting effects.
The primary colors were blue, yellow, and red. The foyer was lighted with quaint, wrought-iron patterns of Spanish design. The walls have what's known as a travertine finish.
Of the 98 Wurlitzer organs remaining in their original theaters in the U.S., the Lincoln Theatre?s Wurlitzer is one of only two 2-manual, 7-rank D-2 Full Unit Orchestra models. It has a full set of organ pipes, as well as a set of ?toys,? the mechanical sound effects for silent movies, as well as marimbas, drums, glockenspiel, xylophone, cathedral chimes, celeste, etc., and an original Wurlitzer piano.
The Lincoln Wurlitzer features seven ranks of pipes, a remote piano, and a complete sound effect system for silent films, including beats, castanets, drums, cymbals, glockenspiels, and marimbas, as well as a set of silver chimes mounted on the auditorium's painted columns.
Much work has been done by our pool of volunteer organists and technicians to maintain and repair our musical treasure.
The console has been pulled, cleaned, and rewired; several ranks have been gone through, with new leathers and blocks installed; and the "toy box" for sound effects has been rearranged for easier access and repair. All the work has been done by dedicated volunteers, including Gene Peden, Bob Martin, and Keith Thompson.
The volunteer organists who perform before each film showing are Dusan Mrak, Jeff Fox, Gene Reden, Glen DesJardins, and Ken Fenske. Thanks to all of them for keeping the theater organ tradition alive at the Lincoln!
We are always in need of more players. If you are interested in performing at the console, give us a call and you can play the pipes!