State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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State Theatre

This is the Original facade from 1920
This is the current facade of the State Theatre
Address: 805 Hennepin Avenue
Neighborhood/s: Downtown West, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1921
Primary Style: Renaissance Revival
Additions: In 1989-1991, the Theatre had $8.8 million dollar renovation to restore the building.
Historic Function: Theater/concert hall
Historic Function: Place of Worship
Other Historic Function: Place of Worship
Current Function: Theater/concert hall
Architect or source of design: J.E.O. Pridmore
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Stone
Part of the Site: Hennepin Theatre District

Downtown West Minneapolis Hennepin County

State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota
(44.9768889° N, 93.2762647° WLatitude: 44°58′36.8″N
Longitude: 93°16′34.553″W

The State Theatre opened in 1921, seats 2,181, and was considered the most technologically advanced theater in its time. It is located in the middle of the Hennepin Theatre District, between the Pantages Theater and the Orpheum Theatre. This ideal location connects the theaters to the lively downtown atmosphere that springs off of Nicollet Mall (the heart of downtown). The State Theatre represents how American theatre culture has changed over time, from the 1920’s to today.


Memories and stories

Construction and Early Operation

The State Theatre was designed by Chicago Architect J.E.O Pridemore and finished in 1921. He was an innovative architect that used Renaissance Revival Style for the luxurious interior. The foyer and lobby were built with black and white marble floors, molder plaster coffered ceilings, and crystal chandeliers. The building also included the first rudimentary air- conditioning system in Minneapolis. The original stage floor was made of glass, which allowed light be directed from below the stage – a new innovative technology for its time. This theater represented the high class and luxurious style that was developing in Minneapolis in the 1920’s.

From 1921-2978 the State Theater played a vital role in shaping Theater in Minneapolis by providing a variety of concerts, performances, and movies. It housed the largest screen west of the Mississippi when it was built. The Theatre opened on February 5, 1921 with a silent film, newsreel and travelogue. In 1925 a pipe organ was installed and concerts were performed every day for 25 cents. It also hosted variety of performers such as Nora Bayes and Victor Herbert, in addition to different concerts and ballets. The State Theater was a successful venue up until the 1970’s.


In 1978, the theater was purchased by the Jesus People Church, and was altered to be their place of worship. This organization covered all of the murals and sculptures with plaster. It was only a place of worship for a short period of time until the entire block was purchased by the Minneapolis Community Development Agency.

The State Theaters went through a major renovation, along with the Orpheum and Pantages Theatre in 1989. This renovation, with a cost of $8.8 million, attempted to restore the building back to its original state. It included removing all of the plaster to reveal the original components and decorations designed by J.E.O Pridemore. This two- year renovation included restoring 6 original chandeliers, murals on the walls, and a proscenium that spans along the entire width of the building. It re-opened in 1991.

This renovation brought back to life the Theater’s original intent. It has now become a symbol of great American Theater that is often attended by a more upscale crowd. The shift in American culture to films being shown at movie theaters has helped places like the Historic State Theater continue to be successful. The role of the Hennepin Theatre District has shifted its focus to live performances and concerts. Since it’s re-opening, many Broadway plays such as Avenue Q , Sweeney Todd, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat have been performed there. Today, this structure shows how Amercia’s theaters have evolved over time. The original heritage and was preserved and can be seen in the State Theatre, which is a prominent venue today in Minneapolis.

Current State

Built in 1921 by Chicago architect J.E.O. Pridmore, this theater was the most technology advanced for its time within the United States. It was designed with an Italian Renaissance style and was the largest screen west of the Mississippi River. In 1978 it was converted into a church and used until 1989 when it was converted back into a theater with a $8.8 renovation. Today, this structure shows how our theaters have evolved over time. The original style was preserved, and it is still a functional building used frequently today.

Importance to Hennepin Avenue

Hennepin Avenue's success can partially be attributed to the Theatre District. Hennepin Ave. has been the center of the theater in Minneapolis since the early 1900's and the State Theater helped create this with its advanced technology at that time. It became the focal point of films and mainstream movies. The State Theatre is significant to this neighborhood because it represents a unique architecture style in American history that draws crowds from the entire surrounding area. The State Theatre in addition to the Pantages and Orpheum have adapted to the city's cultural and entertainment needs by providing the city with the most current films, concerts, and performers.

Specifically, when the State Theatre was restored, the preservation of the building successfully took into account the urban context of Hennepin Avenue. The theater standing today compliments the other theaters nearby while still representing the 1920's Renaissance Revival Architectural style.

Photo Gallery


Reasearch Material Courtesy of:

Minnesota Historical Society, National Register of Historic Places, City of Minneapolis, Hennepin Theater Trust


64px}px This place is part of
the ARCH5670 Class Project

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