Exploring the Heilig Theater- Behind the Scenes

I have recently been researching The Heilig Theater for the Oregon Theater Project. Throughout my research, I have come across a plethora of interesting information, though I have also run into some struggles while trying to research the information I am looking for. The research process for me so far has been tedious, yet exciting, and I have learned a lot about Nickelodeons and theaters in general through my findings. 

In the early 1920s, the Heilig Theater became a popular spot for the citizens of Eugene, OR to come to for entertainment. The Heilig Theater was a great attraction because, not like most other places, the theater encouraged audiences of all ages and genders to attend. Over the years it was running, the Heilig exponentially grew. Another attraction of the Heilig Theater was that it was located in a prime area of Eugene. A big sign reading “Heilig” spread across the busy Willamette Street, near East 7th Avenue. The theater had a continuous flow of new entertainment to display; there were new productions being shown every week along with advertisements in the local newspaper. The manager was W.B. McDonald, who would sign off for the biggest and best attractions to be shown at the theater. There would be famous performers, comedians, orchestras, motion pictures, and even a canary in order to attract all audiences. The Heilig became so big that even a Big Hollywood premiere with known stars was held there. During the time that the Heilig Theater was up and running, it was a big attraction to the people of Eugene.

I found a lot of fascinating and useful information throughout the research process of the Heilig Theater. I did most of my research on the website Newspapers.com. On this website, I was able to find endless amounts of information on the theater I was researching, which was incredibly helpful, but also extremely overwhelming. I spent hours sorting through this abundance of information, looking for the most important pieces. When I would search for “Heilig Theater,” most of the findings were about what new attraction would be premiering at the theater that week. Which is helpful information, but to an extent. So, it took a good amount of time and effort to sort through all the findings for a variety of data I could use. I searched both the word “theater” as well as “theatre” and found loads of information from the same newspaper and time periods. So, the information I collected was through using both of those keywords. I often found myself frustrated through this tedious research process. At one point I ended up just googling “the Heilig Theater Eugene,” which ended up bringing me to this very website, the Oregon Theater Project. Though this research process was often overwhelming and frustrating, I realized how this was the most valid and efficient way to access this necessary information. I learned a lot about both the Heilig Theater, as well as the research process throughout this and now feel more educated and confident.