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2009 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award Recipients

Preservation Merit Award to Columbus Association for the Performing Arts/Lincoln Theatre Association, City of Columbus, Franklin County Commissioners, Hardlines Design Company, and The Quandel Group for the preservation and rehabilitation of the 1928 Lincoln Theatre at 769 East Long Street in Columbus.

The Lincoln Theatre is an Egyptian Revival style theatre built in 1928 and originally known as the Ogden Theatre and Ballroom. It was developed by an African-American Fraternal Organization, built by an African-American construction company, and managed by a local African-American entrepreneur. The theatre hosted prominent black musicians, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Miles Davis, James Brown and Columbus native Nancy Wilson. In the 1960s, following the construction of interstate highways through the area, the neighborhood declined as residents moved into the suburbs. The theatre was closed by 1970 and sat vacant for 30 years. In 1991, the building was scheduled for demolition, but was saved by minor repair projects and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. In 2000, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman began a campaign to save the theatre, and secured $4 million from the City and another $4 million from Franklin County to rehabilitate the building. The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts was secured to manage the facility, Hardlines Design Company was commissioned in 2003 to complete a master plan and the subsequent design and construction documents, and The Quandel Group began active construction in January 2008. The ribbon cutting for the grand re-opening took place on May 21st of this year.

The project consisted of the restoration of the historic Egyptian Revival interior paint scheme on the ceiling and proscenium, which the design team recreated using remnants of the original plasterwork and historic black/white photographs. Original chairs found in the basement allowed the chair end stanchions to be recreated, although the seat sizes and layout were modified to accommodate modern audiences and code requirements. A new balcony was designed that provided both an acoustical improvement and additional seating. An addition to the west side contains a lobby and restrooms. The south addition houses dressing rooms, a green room, and a musicians' lounge.

The second floor ballroom had been previously renovated in 2004, and received minor alterations to accommodate a grand stair from the main floor to the balcony and a new sprung floor for dance rehearsals. The original first floor retail spaces will continue to house new retail functions and the third floor is now the new home of the Jazz Academy, and contains rehearsal rooms, instrument labs, and a recording studio. In partnership with WOSU, the Theatre itself also has full recording and broadcast capabilities. State of the art audio/visual equipment and infrastructure have been designed to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Rehabilitation of the Lincoln Theatre is a long-awaited and exciting preservation success from the standpoint of saving one of the best buildings associated with the rich cultural, social and entrepreneurial heritage of Columbusí African American population and because this project will serve as an important catalyst for further investment and preservation-oriented development in the area.

2009 Awards 
Presentation Image. Click to view slides of the awards presentation.

Click here to return to the list of 2009 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

Click here for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

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