Breathing New Life Into a Historical Indiana Landmark
Tucked in the middle of downtown Wabash, Eagles Theatre is a charming building and cornerstone of the community. The theatre runs blockbuster movies and a number of specials for families and patrons throughout the year, including Free Movie Mondays, Throwback Thursdays and live performances.
While currently an active theatre, Eagles Theatre is capable of becoming so much more. And thanks to a collection of passionate foundations, local organizations, public and private donors, it soon will be.
Scheduled for renovation to begin later this year, Eagles Theatre will undergo a significant transformation that will reimagine and rework the use of the four-story, 111-year old building.
With the redevelopment of Eagles Theatre, Wabash aligns with the rest of Northeast Indiana to help improve the quality of life in the region. Keep reading to learn more about this exciting renovation project and how it will support Northeast Indiana’s goal in the Road to One Million.
The History of Eagles Theatre
Eagles Theatre, a Wabash mainstay, currently functions as a movie theater. However, it was once a fully functioning vaudeville theatre, complete with two balconies and seating to accommodate up to 1,200 patrons. It later transitioned to showing movies with the advent of motion pictures, providing entertainment and world news through the use of newsreels.
As the decades passed, the theatre wove itself into the social fabric of many generations. The upper floors have transitioned in use several times, from a lively grand ballroom for private parties and events, to offices and storage, and at times even apartments for local residents. These unused floors have since fallen into disrepair, offering an exciting opportunity for renovation and revitalization.
About the Renovation Project
Last month, the Eagles Theatre Renovation Project was awarded funds from the Regional Cities Initiative - a state funded program designed to grow Northeast Indiana’s population to 1 million by 2031. The goal will be reached through projects that attract talent and business opportunities and stimulate overall economic growth.
The purpose of the renovation project is two-fold — in part it is a cosmetic and structural renovation, but it will also establish new educational programs to benefit the local and regional community.
As it stands, there are several unused floors in the building and boundless potential for community enhancement through the arts and education. The construction plans will allow community members to utilize every floor and bring new life, programs, and vitality to Wabash and the greater region.
By the end of the renovation, the theatre will boast two separate movie screens, event spaces, educational classrooms, and more. Eagles Theatre will be able to accommodate an array of new educational and community programs, as well as multi-use rooms throughout the building — all designed to enhance arts opportunities for the Northeast Indiana community.
The Honeywell Foundation will partner with Heartland Career Center to provide an educational program in Eagles Theatre that is currently unavailable to most high school students in the area. Plans for the partnership will offer exciting new video and audio programs.
A film and video studio and a recording studio, along with a large group editing space, will be created on the second floor to give high school students the opportunity to receive certification or dual high school/college credit in the multimedia arts.
The Eagles Theatre Project is poised to create new quality of life experiences in its community, allowing Wabash to join others in the region by attracting and retaining talent to live and work in Northeast Indiana.