Eagle TheatreEst. 1849.This replica is on the site of the original Eagle Theatre. Built in 1849, it was the first structure in California constructed specifically as a theatre.The Theatre was a canvas covered timber structure with a false front, a large door and a pitched roof. Heavy timbers, possibly from ships abandoned in San Francisco, formed the supporting structure. Canvas, from sails of the same deserted ships, covered the theatre's exterior and also hung inside the building's tin roof. There was room for 350 people on the main floor and 50 people in a balcony that was reached by a steep ladder from outside the building. The first performance in the theatre was Ethiopian Concerts, a musical program. The first play, The Bandit Chief or the Forest Spectre. Balcony box seats were $5.00 and pit seating $3.00. The performance began with an overture played by an orchestra consisting of a bass drum triangle, fiddle and a flageolet (a type of flute.)Performances included musicals, dramas, comedies, songs, recitations, and pantomimes. There were only ten days of shows before the winter storms hit. Heavy rains in November and December 1849 resulted in a major flood on January 4, 1850. High water inundated Sacramento and destroyed the theatre, as well as other buildings in the area.
Following the floods, the Eagle Theatrical Company moved to San Francisco and on January 16, 1850 presented the first dramatic production in that city. The Eagle Theatre, meanwhile, was demolished.In 1972, an excavation found remains of a wooden plank believed to be a remnant of the Eagle Theatre. This discovery set the stage for today's reproduction, built in 1974.Contemporary announcement for the theater:Attention miners!Presented for your enjoyment ∙ Musical songs ∙ Thrilling adventure! ∙ Comedy & drama