Eagles Auditorium History

Welcome to the Eagles Auditorium History site.

This site is dedicated to reconstructing the history of the Seattle Eagles Auditorium, located at the intersection of 7th Avenue and Union Street, in downtown Seattle. This beautiful terra cotta structure was designed by Henry Bittman, who designed a number of important buildings around Seattle, including the King County Courthouse and the Terminal Sales Building. The Auditorium opened in 1925.

The building was originally built for, and owned by, the Fraternal Order of Eagles. The FOE started in Seattle, and thus Seattle is 'aerie' number 1. But the original home of the Eagles was actually on 7th and Pine, where the Roosevelt Hotel currently stands. As membership grew, so did ambitions, and the grand edifice we now know as Eagles Auditorium was built. The location was once a prime real estate lot, but was squeezed by the construction of I-5 in the early 60s, then again by the construction of the Convention Center and Freeway Park in the mid 1980s. ACT Theatre bought the building in 1995, and has occupied the space since opening a multi-theater venue there in 1996. To learn more about the history of ACT, complete performance history is available at ActTheatreHistory.org

Eagles Auditorium is famous in Seattle for being the site of many late-60s rock concerts, complete with psychedelic posters and protests. But there were two other periods of music at Eagles. In the 1950s, it was the site of a number of remarkable R&B performances. And in the early 80s it was a punk and new wave venue, with major stars in those genres performing. Less well-known is its history as a civic center, home to many political and union meetings. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Emmett Till's mother all spoke there during the Civil Rights era. It was also home to dances from groups around the city, civic clubs, wrestling and boxing.

This web site (still in progress) is dedicated to the history of that building, due to celebrate its centennial in 2025.

We are currently featuring listing of the performances from the 'R&B era' of the Auditorium, which ran from the late 1940s to 1961. During that time, an amazing range of talent performed at the Auditorium, including Ernestine Anderson, Billie Holliday, Chuck Berry and James Brown. Dive in and learn more about this fascinating piece of Seattle culture and history.

Still to come are sections about the 'classic rock' era, the 'punk/new wave' era, as well as the political, labor and social impacts of this facility. Stay tuned!

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