El Lago Theater

You can read about the history and designation of the El Lago Theater historic landmark.



Circa 1980



Address: 3500-06 East Lake Street

Neighborhood: Longfellow

Construction Date: 1927

Contractor: Fred Wick

Architect: Ekman Holm & Co.

Architectural Style: Exotic Revival

Historic Use: Culture/Recreation – Motion Picture Theater

Current Use: Religious facility

Date of Local Designation: 1990

Date of National Register Designation: N/A

Area(s) of Significance: Architecture

Period of Significance: 1900 -

Historic Profile: The El Lago Theater, with its romantically exotic façade, was a house of entertainment, fantasy, and escape for many Longfellow residents. While difficult to categorize architecturally, some have described it as "a 1920s interpretation of sixteenth-century Italian, with a Georgian, almost Baroque façade." Located on a once busy streetcar line, this theater was centrally located to draw patrons from Longfellow and surrounding neighborhoods. Construction began in 1927, but the financial constraints of the Depression delayed the theater’s opening until 1933. While it was extremely successful in its early years, the increasing popularity of television, as well as the disabling of the streetcar network in the late 1950s, led to the eventual demise of the El Lago. The theater served the community for nearly forty years, for a short period with silent movies, and then with "talkies". It closed in 1966 and sat vacant for several years until, ironically, the El Lago building was re-inhabited by a television dealership. It currently (2007) houses the Victory Christian Center.

Photo Credits:

Circa 1980, Unknown

2006, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

City of Minneapolis, "National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form," December 1982.

Updated: April 2011

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