The Uptown opened as the Lagoon Theater in 1913. After new sound equipment was installed, the theater’s name was changed on April 11, 1929. The Uptown was rebuilt and redesigned by the architectural firm of Liebenberg and Kaplan after a fire tore through the building in 1939. The theater was closed briefly in 1975 but the building was purchased by Landmark Theatres and reopened the following year. The Uptown started showing foreign and independent films starting with The Coca-Cola Kid in November 1985. Landmark put the Uptown through some rather extensive renovation and upgrades back in 2012. The new design replaced 35mm with digital projection, put in fancy seats and added a full bar.
Built on the site of a mansion constructed by T. B. Walker in 1874, the State Theatre opened on February 5, 1921. A few vaudeville shows played at the State, but the venue went exclusively to movies early on. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid set a record for the longest run in America at the State in 1970. Five years later, Tommy was the old State Theatre’s last picture show. In 1978 the building became the home of Jesus People Church. In 1989 the Minneapolis Community Development Agency purchased the LaSalle Plaza block including the State. After two years and about eight million dollars in renovations, the State Theatre re-opened in 1991 with a Minnesota Opera production of Carousel .
Built into the side of a hill overlooking Crystal Lake in Robbinsdale, the mighty Terrace Theatre in Robbinsdale opened its doors on May 25th, 1951. Designed by the architectural firm of Liebenberg and Kaplan, for theater owners, Sydney and William Volk, the Terrace was advertised as “America’s finest theatre at your very door”. In 1987 Midcontinental Theater Company purchased the theater. The upper auditorium was divided in half, and turned into two 300 seat screening rooms. Midcontinental debuted the new 3 screen dollar theater under the name Midco Terrace. After last movie played in 1999, the windows were boarded up, utilities were disconnected, and an out of state property allowed the Terrace to rot on the hillside. Despite local efforts to save the much loved theater, the Terrace was torn down to make way for a Hy-Vee grocery store in 2016.
The Pantages Theater opened as a vaudeville house on October 27, 1916.The theater started showing movies in the 1920. After RKO remodeled in 1946, the name was changed to RKO Pan. Ted Mann bought the place in 1960.He put a pile of money into it, modernized, refurbished and reopened as the Mann Theater in March 1961.Over the years, the theater premiered everything from Westside Story to Annie. The Mann was boarded up in 1984 and the building was purchased by the City of Minneapolis. After a five-year renovation effort the Pantages reopened as a live theater on 7th November, 2002
The original 300 seat Nile Theatre opened in 1926. Sidney and William Volk bought the building in 1932 and it burned to the ground in 1934. The Volks spent $100,000 rebuilding the Nile and the new theater, designed by architect Perry Crosier, reopened with 1000 seats on July 31st, 1936. The Art Deco-Egyptian decor included Egyptian lobby furniture and large panels inspired by ancient Egyptian temples. The Nile closed in 1982. The building was demolished to make way for an old folks home.
The Orpheum Theatre opened as a vaudeville house 16th October 1921. The first act to perform was The Marx Brothers.Their show drew over 70,000 people during a weeklong run.The the name was changed to RKO Orpheum Theatre. after the theater began showing films in 1927. Ted Mann purchased the theater in the 1950’s.The Orpheum quit showing movies in the mid-1970’s. Live acts returned and Bob Dylan bought the building in 1979. The city of Minneapolis purchased the Orpheum when Dylan and his brother put it up for sale . The theater was renovated and reopened in 1993.
The Minnesota Theater was the fifth largest theater in the country when it opened March 24, 1928. The building’s vertical marquee was eight stories tall. Inside the front doors a three-story lobby was based upon the Sainte-Chappelle at Versailles, contained rows of Corinthian columns with gilded capitals, arranged around an enormous marble staircase. In the 4,000 seat auditorium, a large stage was framed by a proscenium arch covered in decorated with intricate plaster work. After the Great Depression hit, the theater struggled and closed several times. In 1944 the old place was purchased by KSTP radio. The Minnesota was renamed the Radio City Theater. A great deal of the original signage was removed, and replaced with a Streamline Moderne marquee. Shortly after the Radio City Theater closed in 1958, the building’s auditorium was demolished and parking lot went up on the site.
The Gopher opened as a vaudeville house called the Grand Theater n 1911. The place ran silent movies in the early 20’s and was wired for sound in 1928, The theater shut down in 1936. After an extensive remodel the place reopened as the Gopher Theater on October 29, 1938. The new theater had a modern that featured a maroon and gold color scheme. In the 1970’s the Gopher Theater started showing adult films. The Gopher was torn down to make way for City Center shortly after the theater closed in 1979.
The Richfield Theater opened with Variety Girl staring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope on October 15, 1947. Cedric Adams was the master of ceremonies. Designed by architect, George Beck, the Richfield cost $175,545 for the building, $25,000 for the equipment and $8,500 for the land. The auditorium contained 920 seats on a single sloping floor. In the 1960’s local rock bands like the Stillroven, Accents, Gregory Dee and the Avantis played pre-movie shows. The theater closed in the 1960’s. The building was remodeled and used as a bank.