Eagle Theatre

13-15 S. Saginaw Street,
Pontiac, MI 48342

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Butterfield Theaters

Architects: George J. Bachmann

Functions: Nightclub

Styles: Moorish

Previous Names: Grand Prix

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Eagle Theatre

The Eagle Theatre is the epitone of the late vaudeville, early movie theatre. It is a fine example of the use of Moorish design influences on a cinema building. The three-story facade is masonry which is finished primarily in stucco and red quarry tile. At each side of the facade are vertical stucco towers decorated at the top with a corbeled cornice and at the base with red quarry tile. At the second floor of these towers the windows are surrounded by a Moorish or horseshoe art treatment of red quarry tile. A decorative mansard style roof of clay tile shingles caps each bay. The two storefronts at the smaller bays are original are are highlighted by bronze glazing members, cast iron trim, and decorative leaded glass transoms.

The primary significance of the Eagle Theatre is derived from the uniqueness of the interior facilities originally constructed and the quality of its architectural detail. The Eagle Theatre was constructed on the site of Pontiac’s oldest movie house in 1927. The building was leased, shortly after its construction, to the Butterfield Theatres. The interior of the theatre displayed many Moorish elements, such as the Moorish arch proscenium and keyhole arches between the columns along the side aisles. On the second floor is a large room called the “Green Room” where performers and audience traditionally met after the performances.

The building’s third floor contains nine apartments originally intended to house travelling vaudeville performers. These are particularly unique because of their Art Deco style bathrooms and Pullman kitchens which must be some of the earliest prefabricated complete kitchen units in existence today.

Throughout the interior of the building, finishes and colors are original and in superb condition making the theatre one of the most architecturally complete in the State of Michigan and giving a truer picture of a facility constructed for the golden era of the American cinema.

The theatre became home to the nightclub, Industry and in 2016 is a nightclub named Elekticity.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

EMSIII on June 26, 2004 at 11:41 pm

Having been raised in Pontiac, Michigan in the 1930s & 40s, I was told “The Eagle Theatre Is Off Limits”, but you can go to the Stand or the grand old Oakland. I am aware the Oakland burned to the ground in the early 1960s and I muse thinking of the large sign painted on the back of the stagehouse wall, which read, OAKLAND THEATRE—OAKLAND COUNTY’S FINEST PHOTOPLAY HOUSE —ABSOLUTLY FIREPROOF. Do any photos exist of the Oakland Theatre?
Edward Millington Stout

CharmaineZoe on May 11, 2011 at 11:13 am

Quote: “The Eagle Theatre was constructed on the site of Pontiac’s oldest movie house in 1927.” So what was Pontiac’s oldest movie house called? I ask because I have found in an old film magazine of 1926 a photograph (which is a reprint from an even older mag of 1911) of an old theatre called the Bond that was in Pontiac at that time (c1911). It is in an old wooden building and obviously a very early movie house with a group of people standing in front of the entrance in the clothes of the time. I know at the time it was showing films from the old IMP (Independent Movie Company, that was the forerunner of Universal) If anyone has any knowledge of this theatre I would be interested to hear.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 30, 2012 at 1:03 am

A list of theaters designed by architect George J. Bachmann published in the 1949-50 edition of Theatre Catalog includes the Eagle Theatre in Pontiac, with the design dated 1925.

The list of Bachmann’s works includes three other theaters in Pontiac: the Orpheum, dated 1920, the State, dated 1921, and the Strand, dated 1925.

Trolleyguy on April 9, 2016 at 10:17 am

No longer showing movies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 9, 2016 at 3:02 pm

The nightclub called Industry that occupied this former theater has been replaced by a nightclub called Elektricity. A very few of the photos in the club’s Facebook album show a bit of the walls in the background, but the only one I’ve found that gives a decent view is this shot of the stage, which shows some of the detail of the Moorish style proscenium arch.

Alvin1 on February 28, 2018 at 10:24 pm

I’m amazed to find the good old Eagle is still standing. I spent all my Saturdays as a kid in the 50s watching the Saturday horror, sci fi, westerns, etc. films and reruns of the weekly serials like Flash Gordon or Jungle Jim. All the great giant bug and “I Was a Teenage…” movies. I actually just had a dream about going there. Still remember the chills from the original “TheThing” I saw with my buddies when we were in 5th grade…..with real butter on the pop corn.

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