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Friday, August 8, 2014


When I first moved to Minneapolis and found my apartment in the Uptown neighborhood, the first thing I did was to explore my new home.  One of the first buildings I saw was the Suburban World Theater, which is an amazing historic landmark in, what is becoming, a very contemporary neighborhood.

An early photo of the theater (photo: Hennipen County Library).

An historic theater in a contemporary neighborhood.

Designed by local architect Jack Liebenberg, the theater was built in 1927 and opened as the Granada Theater.  The Granada featured a Spanish/Moorish style that was designed to give the illusion that there was no roof, and that you were sitting in a Spanish courtyard.  The atmospheric effects furthered this illusion with projections of stars and moving clouds on the ceiling.  Finally, Moorish balconies and artificial plants completed the outdoor look of the theater’s interior.

An early photo of the interior of the theater (photo: Hennipen County Library).

The theater, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places, changed its name to the Suburban World Theater in 1954, and underwent a major remodeling in the 1960’s that replaced doors and chandeliers, and also changed the look of the lobby.  Fortunately, the interior of the theater itself remained untouched, as did the fa├žade.

Must be Italian!

Pigeon hold.

The Suburban World Theater closed in 2003 and remained empty for many years, opening only for special occasions.  It was purchased earlier this year, and is currently being renovated by its new owners to prepare it for its next phase of life.  The theater is an architectural gem in my neighborhood, and I am anxiously waiting to see what its new incarnation will be.

***What architectural gems live in your neighborhood?

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