Address: 708 Hennepin Avenue
Neighborhood: Downtown West
Construction Date: 1916
Contractor: Splady, Allee and Smith
Architect: Marcus Priteca
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 twenty-sixth of what would eventually become a five-hundred 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 Modern 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.
1910, Hibbard, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society
Circa 2002-2007, courtesy of the Hennepin Theatre Trust
"City of Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Registration Form," March 1996.
Updated: February 2007