Eagle Street Theater

Click on illustrations for larger size
Illustrations source: "The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo," Frank H. Severance , ed. Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 16, 1912, pp. 488-489

In the same year the railroad was built, 1836, Buffalo got a new theater The press hailed the new Eagle Street Theatre as the city's "grandest building, grand enough for a metropolis," and indeed it was.

The Eagle served a dual purpose in the city of 16,000, accommodating not only theatrical performances but the fashionable balls of Buffalo's social elite Well-heeled patrons owned their own boxes, which they draped in blue damask and comfortably furnished with upholstered sofas and chairs.

The theater season was in the summer months, when canal and lake were fully navigable and their torrent of business filled the city's streets with pleasure seekers. Theater gave way to the gavotte in the winter months, when the busy navigation season had ended and the social season for the seasonally idled rich was in full swing.

Shakespeare played to full houses during the theater season at the Eagle But the fare was varied. The theater had a couple of enterprising, audience-wise managers who, after bringing in Othello for a week's run, outrageously burlesqued it the following week with Othello, the Noblest Nigger of Dem All, and then kept the theatrical pot boiling by staging something as absurdly monstrous and strictly local as The Three Thieves of Tonawanda.

Text source: "Buffalo: Lake City in Niagara Land,"by Richard C. Brown and Bob Watson. USA: Windsor Publications, 1981, pp. 54-55,

The Eagle Street Theater was destroyed by fire on May 11, 1852. The walls of the building were used in construction of St. James Hall in 1853.
See also: History of Site - One M&T Plaza

Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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