Bijou Theatre

20 Washington Avenue North,
Minneapolis, MN 55401

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Bijou Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The People’s Theatre was opened October 31, 1887. It was designed by architect Harry G. Carter. It was renamed Bijou Opera House in 1890, but was destroyed by fire in December 1890. It was rebuilt as a slightly larger theatre (again to the plans of architect Harry G. Carter).

The interior of the Bijou Theatre was remodelled by architectural firm Liebenberg & Kaplan in 1927 and again around 1931-1933. The Bijou Theatre was still open in August 1959, and it closed soon after, to be demolished in 1960.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm

The Bijou Theatre is listed under Minneapolis in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. It’s listed as “Bijou Opera House” in the summary and as “Bijou Theatre” in the main body of the page. The lessee and manager was Jacob Litt. It had 700 seats in the orchestra, 500 in the balcony and 800 in the gallery, total 2,000. (probably rounded up). Admission ranged from 15 cents to 75 cents; the house was on the ground floor and had both gas and electric illumination. There were 8 in the house orchestra. The proscenium opening was 33 ½ feet wide X 33 feet high, and the stage was 33 feet deep. There were 7 hotels for show folk, and 4 daily newspapers. The 1897 population of Minneapolis was 200,000. Two other theaters in town listed in this Guide were the Lyceum with 1,796 seats and the Metropolitan Opera House with 2,000 seats.

LouisRugani on May 31, 2009 at 6:02 am

I passed the Bijou one evening in late August of 1959 and it was open but looking very tired with numerous bulbs out in the marquee.

rvarani on April 2, 2010 at 8:27 pm

For years the Bijou operated as a grind house 10:00 am to 11:30 pm. New double feature program every day. Price for all seats was 25 cents. Worked many a shift in the projection booth. Booth was located on the first balcony. The second balcony, which contained only benches had been closed for many years. Theatre had one of the largest cinemascope screens in the area.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm

The Bijou Theatre in Minneapolis is listed as a project in both 1927 and 1931-1933 in the finding aid for the Liebenberg & Kaplan papers at the University of Minnesota. Any extensive alterations must have been confined mostly to the interior, as the facade remained little changed over the years aside from the replacement of the corner towers seen in this early photo with a mansard that was hardly less old fashioned, and the addition of a modern theater marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 12, 2016 at 2:46 pm

According to his obituary in the March 5, 1910, issue of The Improvement Bulletin, the original architect of the Bijou Theatre in Minneapolis was Harry G. Carter.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 12, 2016 at 11:47 pm

A report prepared for the Minnesota Historical Society says that the theater at 20 N. Washington Avenue opened as the People’s Theater on October 31, 1887. It was renamed the Bijou in 1890, but was destroyed by fire in December of that year. The Bijou was rebuilt, now a bit larger, with plans by the original architect, Harry G. Carter. The building was razed in 1960 (note Louis Rugani’s earlier comment that the house was still operating in August, 1959.)

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