Miami’s Historic Lincoln Theater Now Sports Stainless Steel Plaques
Historic preservation and renovation can be very difficult and yet rewarding work. Restoring a building or its exterior design can be like breathing life back into a space. A good renovation is done with respect to its history and eye to its future and that makes all the difference in the world.
Take for example the Lincoln Theatre in Miami. Built in 1936 and designed by Robert Collins with assistance from Thomas White Lamb, it was one of three theatres designed by Collins in the Miami area. However, the Lincoln Theatre was his first theatre commission and so was assisted by Lamb. Lamb was a well-known architect having designed many theatres, including the Mark Strand Theatre, the Rivoli Theatre, and the Rialto Theatre in New York’s Time Square. These theatres defined Times Square as a theatre destination.
The Lincoln Theatre was a noteworthy building design in Miami. It featured a commercial space wrapped around the theatre box. For a number of years, a pharmacy and medical offices occupied the commercial space; they also offered a luncheonette counter. The pharmacy and the theatre maintained separate entrances. The original sign on the exterior of the theatre on Lincoln Road was made of metal that was extremely heavy, over one thousand pounds! During World War II, the metal was stripped from the exterior to support the war effort and replaced with a stucco and enamel façade.
After the theatre closed in 1990, it was purchase by New World Symphony. The Symphony made numerous changes to the building during their 21 years, including expanding the entrance and removing the retail spaces. When the Symphony moved to a new home, Savitar Realty Advisors purchased the property and utilized architect Shulman + Associates to make the modifications. The exterior was modified to bring the Lincoln Theatre entrance back to life, complete with a redone metal marquee like the original.
The work that Impact Signs completed included etched historical plaques that utilized the highest level of detail. The etching process is extremely precise and can be used for the smallest of fonts; it is especially popular in the use of historic or museum plaques. You can see in the image below the level of detail in the historic photos of the theatre. Impact Signs utilized a blind stud mount, which is also one of the most popular mounting styles, because it is invisible on the front (hence ‘blind’.) By designing the plaques and hiring Impact Signs, Shulman + Associates made the overall look of the Lincoln Theatre a seamless professional design. By incorporating the history of the building through the use of the plaques, they also made its history tangible.
The new and improved Lincoln Theatre is a testament to quality design. It is a first class example of making historic buildings work in modern times.
Written by: Shabbir Moosabhoy