412 Hennepin Avenue,
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When the Palace opened on October 5, 1914, it was then the most spectacular theater built in Minneapolis. Built for the Finkelstein & Rubin circuit, the 2,400-seat theater was ornate and huge, filled with marble, gilt plasterwork and artwork.
The Palace Theatre cost more than half a million dollars, and its grandiose facade with elaborate terra-cotta work and a three story tall marquee was unlike anything Hennepin Avenue had seen.
Opening night featured Ethel Barrymore live on stage, as well as five vaudeville acts and several short films.
For most of the 1920’s, the Palace Theatre was operated by the Mutual Burlesk Company. Despite its name, it wasn’t a true burlesque house, in the later sense, but continued to screen movies and present stage shows.
In the late-1920’s, the Palace Theatre was closed, but was reopened shortly thereafter as a legitimate house.
By 1934, under independent management, it was once again showing a mix of vaudeville acts and motion pictures, as in its early days. In the mid-1930’s, the Palace Theatre was the first major downtown house to present a double feature format, which continued through most of the rest of the decade.
In 1938, cowboy star Roy Rogers appeared onstage at the Palace Theatre, but not long afterwards, it began to decline both in popularity and quality.
In 1938, ice-cream wrestling (in one and a half tons of ice-cream) was presented to enthusiastic crowds at the Palace Theatre, in addition to double-bill movies.
The Minnesota Amusement Company took over the theater in 1940 as a no-frills second-run house. The Palace Theatre closed on May 8, 1953 and not long after, was razed to make way for a parking lot.
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