Pantages Theater

Individual Landmark





Circa 2002

Address: 708 Hennepin Avenue

Neighborhood: Downtown West

Construction Date: 1916

Contractor: Splady, Allee and Smith

Architect: Marcus Priteca

Architectural Style: Beaux Arts (auditorium), Moderne (lobby)

Historic Use: Culture/Recreation – Performing Arts Theater

Current Use: Culture/Recreation – Performing Arts Theater

Date of Local Designation: 1997

Date of National Register Designation: N/A

Area(s) of Significance: Architecture, Social History

Period of Significance: 1916-32

Historic Profile: In 1916, Greek immigrant, Alexander Pantages, opened in Minneapolis the 26th of what would eventually become a 500-theater circuit across the United States.

Pantages chose to build his theater on Hennepin Avenue, already the primary entertainment district in Minneapolis. Originally conceived by architects Kees and Colburn as a grand twelve-story complex in the Beaux Arts style, the design was scaled back to a two-story Moderne base. While the exterior of the Pantages was simple in design, the interior of the theater was originally quite extravagant in Beaux Arts features. Pantages employed Marcus Priteca, who was the principal architect for the nationwide chain, to design the auditorium with ornate plaster ceiling coves, columns along the proscenium and sophisticated heating and ventilating systems. Through several changes in ownership and renovations, the interior auditorium and lobby have retained historical integrity.

Originally a vaudeville theater, the 1926 refurbishing marked its transition to movie theater. Renovations, again, in both 1945 and 1961 made the theater more accommodating for modern uses. However the theater closed in 1984. In 2002, a completely renovated Pantages Theater re-opened, making it only one of the few extant vaudeville theaters on Hennepin Avenue.

Photo Credits:

1910, Hibbard, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

Circa 2002-2007, courtesy of the Hennepin Theatre Trust

Works Cited:

"City of Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Registration Form," March 1996.

Updated: February 2007

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Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415