Wabash, Indiana, is a fusion of historic character, world-class entertainment, and fascinating attractions. The town’s alluring art scene, along with boutique shopping and local eateries, add to its appeal. Pride in its historic charm and preservation has lead to many projects, and one of the biggest is currently underway. The renovation of the Eagles Theatre, in the center of downtown Wabash, will not only provide cosmetic and structural upgrades, but will also establish new educational programs to benefit the local and regional community.
The stately, four-story red brick Eagles Theatre building first opened its doors in 1906 as a vaudeville theatre, hosting nationally-renowned touring companies who performed exciting shows for audiences from across the region. In its early days, Eagles Theatre held two balconies and seating to accommodate up to 1,200 patrons. Along with the main stage and accompanying theatre seating, the building also boasted storefronts, a basement, 18 offices, 13 dressing rooms, and a large ballroom.
As the decades passed, Eagles Theatre wove itself into the social fabric of many generations in Wabash and the surrounding Northeast Indiana region. The upper floors have transitioned in use several times, from a lively grand ballroom for private parties and events, to theatre offices and storage, and at times even apartments for local residents. The main stage later transitioned into a movie theater with the advent of motion pictures, providing entertainment and world news through the use of newsreels. However, the unused spaces fell into disrepair.
In January 2010, The Honeywell Foundation acquired the historical building and has completed a number of much-needed upgrades, making the lobby and main stage once again functional for community use as a movie theater and live performance venue.
By the end of the renovation, the structure will boast a fully restored main stage and theatre with dressing rooms and storage space to allow for increased live programming. The second floor will be updated to accommodate state-of-the-art recording and film studios. Third floor classrooms will be designed for multiple uses, allowing for flexible programming opportunities. The basement will hold a second movie screen to showcase films and video projects for public viewings, private screenings, and event rentals.
Additionally, the once very grand and ornate fourth floor ballroom will be restored to its former glory as a rentable events space complete with onsite catering kitchen.
The floors above the original theatre will accommodate an array of new educational and community programs, all designed to enhance fine arts opportunities available in Wabash and to the larger Northeast Indiana community.
While the Eagles Theatre is temporarily closed to the public during construction, there are so many reasons to visit Wabash County: there’s the Honeywell Center with its internationally-known performances; the Charley Creek Inn, a luxury boutique hotel in downtown Wabash; art galleries, antique shops, and unique boutiques for shopping; “Taste of Wabash” foodie tours June-October; outstanding restaurants; popular special events year-round; and much more
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE EAGLES RENOVATION PROJECT, view future arts education programming, or subscribe to Eagles Theatre email updates, visit www.eaglestheatre.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WABASH COUNTY TOURISM, go to www.visitwabashcounty.com.