Empire Theatre

310 S. Main Street,
Minot, ND 58701

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Empire Theater, Minot ND, about 1956.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Empire Theatre was opened in 1954. It had an unusual design, being a ‘reverse theatre’, with the screen at the front of the building, behind the facade. Seating was provided for 1,248 in orchesta and balcony levels. The 66 feet wide screen was one of the largest in the country at that time.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 4, 2006 at 10:04 am

Here is a photo of the Empire taken sometime in the 1950s:
http://tinyurl.com/mdop7

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 1, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Here is a depressing news clip about the theater’s demolition in January 1985:
http://tinyurl.com/n9cx8q

3rdgencinemawrkr
3rdgencinemawrkr on January 5, 2011 at 11:40 pm

The Empire Theatre indeed was located on Main Street. To be exact, it was located on the northwest corner of Main Street and Burdick Expressway. Today this location is the north parking lot for the Trinity Hospital & Clinic. If one looks at the 1950s photo from ken mc, which is looking north up Main Street, you can see the church, which is still there, just to the north of the auto dealer. The Main Street Medical Clinic now sets where the auto dealership was. The Trinity Hospital Emergency Room & Ambulance Parking Lot is now where the Mobile Station was. If one views the video of the theater’s demolition, from ken mc, they can see the Hospital and Clinic in the background, with the skywalk between the two clearly shown. The one thing that I will always remember about the Empire, is its huge red velvet curtains.The day that the Empire Theatre closed was a sad day, not only for Minot, but all of northwest North Dakota. I have lived an hour from Minot my whole life [i’m 44] and can remember that going to Minot for movies at the Empire was always a treat. There has always been a theater in the town I live in [i am now the projectionist there] but it was very plain & the screen was tiny compared to the Empire. Unfortunatly, as was the case with many old theaters, the multiplex became the preferred venue, and theaters like the Empire could not compete. If anyone has any photos of the interior of the Empire, please share them. I do not have any photos of the Empire, but I will always cherish the fond memories from my youth.

3rdgencinemawrkr
3rdgencinemawrkr on January 24, 2011 at 10:45 pm

A couple more corrections that I forgot to include in my previous comment.

It was the Trinity Medical Center not the “Liberty Medical Center” that purchased the property.

Main Street is residential only south of 5th Avenue South and North of 4th Avenue North. Between these Avenues is Main Street’s Business District.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 13, 2011 at 6:39 am

Regis, you will be pleased to see this three-page article about the Empire Theatre, from Boxoffice, October 23, 1954. There are several photos of the theater, and a small floor plan and cross section. Click on the “next page” links to see the subsequent pages.

Although the Boxoffice article gives the impression that the Empire’s reverse theater design was an innovation by Liebenberg & Kaplan, there had in fact already been a dozen or more reverse theaters operating in the United States and England, some of them dating back to the early years of the century.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

This weblog post has an exterior photo of the Empire Theatre, and this one features a photo of the lobby.

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