The History Of Cheyenne’s Lincoln Theater
The Lincoln Theater has been a Cheyenne institution for nearly 90 years. Since 1929, the legendary venue has hosted more than two million people, including a future President and many of Hollywood's biggest stars.
The Lincoln was financed by Wyoming Senator Francis Warren, who died shortly after it opened. It was the first theater in Cheyenne to play talking movies and quickly surpassed the Atlas, Capitol and Princess theaters in popularity. Built in the art-deco style, the interior originally featured the main level and balcony with 1,221 seats. In 1953, it was remodeled to accommodate two screens.
In 1947, the Lincoln hosted the premiere of the movie "Cheyenne". Dennis Morgan and future Academy Award winner Jayne Wyman were among the many stars in attendance.
A decade earlier, Wyman's third husband and future President Ronald Reagan visited the Lincoln Theater. According to a speech that he later gave, Reagan spent the night in Cheyenne on his way to Los Angeles and went to see the movie "A Star is Born". Reagan joked that the film, which depicts the struggles of a Hollywood star, almost convinced him to turn around and go back to Iowa.
A few months after the "Cheyenne" premiere, movie stars Bill Elliot and Vera Ralston appeared at the Lincoln for the release of "Wyoming".
Perhaps the biggest event in the history of the Lincoln Theater was held October 3, 1964, when Cheyenne rolled out the red carpet for the premiere of "Cheyenne Autumn". Reporters from all over the world were there to see the star-studded cast, which included Jimmy Stewart, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, and Ricardo Montalban.
Although its days as a movie theater may now be over, the Lincoln endures as one of Cheyenne's most iconic landmarks. Let's hope the new owners will preserve its rich history.