The Minnesota Theater was located at 36 So. Ninth Street in Minneapolis. We learn its history from the Cinema Treasures website:
The Minnesota opened in 1928 and was, at the time, the fifth largest theater in the country, with seating for over 4,000 in the huge auditorium. It was designed by the Chicago-based firm of Graven & Mayger in the French Renaissance style.
The three-story grand lobby was based upon the Sainte-Chappelle at Versailles, and contained a large marble staircase, rows of Corinthian columns with gilded capitals, and on the mezzanine, a grand piano played while patrons waited under an enormous crystal chandelier for the show to start.
The auditorium was even more impressive, with a large stage and a soaring proscenium arch decorated with intricate plasterwork. The ceiling was cove-lit, and the side walls also covered with gilded plasterwork. Sets of smaller chandeliers hung from the ceiling.
The seats on the main floor and balcony were upholstered with velvet. Antique paintings and sculptures filled many of the public areas.
The exterior of the Minnesota Theater was the piece-de-resistance, its facade coated in various shades of white terracotta, and topped by a spectacular domed tower at the theater’s corner entrance, with decorative polychromed terracotta floral patterns all the way down its side. These were traced by lighting and illuminated at night, as was the dome.
The vertical marquee was eight stories tall, spelling out the theater’s name in huge white letters. The marquee over the main entrance was equally ornate, wrapping around the corner of the building, forming a triangular shape. Like the terracotta on the tower above it, it echoed the floral pattern shape in its neon signage. The word ‘Minnesota’ was encircled by a stylized fleur-de-lis pattern, in shades of green and yellow.
Not long after the Minnesota Theater opened, the Depression began, and the theater began a roller-coaster ride of closings and reopenings that would last throughout the 1930s and into the start of the 1940s.
Despite this, it featured elaborate stage reviews, vaudeville acts, and motion pictures. In 1941, Disney’s “Fantasia” had its premiere at the Minnesota Theater, and ran for much of that year. However, once Disney left, the theater once again was closed.
Radio City Theater
The theater reopened on March 8, 1944, renamed the Radio City Theater. According to this photo from the Minnesota Historical Society, KSTP radio began its residence in the theater on that date, replacing facilities in the Radisson Hotel. (KSTP also had studios in the St. Paul Hotel.)
Both of KSTP’s studios moved to its current studio and office building at 3415 University Ave. SE in early 1948.
WCCO began to operate out of the Radio City Theater in 1949.
Radio City closed as a movie theater on October 15, 1958. The auditorium portion of the building was demolished in 1959, leaving a long narrow building at 50 So. 9th Street that exists today. A large building was built behind it in 1969, according to county property tax records.
WCCO-TV moved to a new building at 90 So. 11th Street (1017 Nicollet Mall) in 1983.