This page covers the South/Purple Barn.
It was located at Highway 494 and County Road 18 (as first advertised), which now would be approximately West 78th Street, three blocks west of Highway 494 and Highway 169, in Eden Prairie.
There was another music venue called the Barn, active from 1957 to at least 1960. This one was located at the intersection of present-day Highway 169 and Rockford Road in Plymouth. This venue is discussed on a separate page.
THE SOUTH/PURPLE BARN
The venue in Eden Prairie was variously known as the Barn, the South Barn, and the Purple Barn
An article dated November 14, 1970, said that the club had been open four years, taking it back to late 1966. An item in a December 1968 Insider said that Bill Roslansky formed Young America, Inc. and purchased the South Barn with fellow shareholders Stuart Swartz and Stan Taube.
It was kind of in the middle of nowhere – Mike remembers:
The Barn would get invaded by hundreds of salamanders crawling on the floors after thunderstorms they would migrate there from the nearby swamp.
The photo below shows that the venue was clearly called the South Barn. Was there a North Barn?
My recollections of the Barn go back to working as a band boy for the Stillroven way back when. I was in High School with Phil Berdahl and Danny Kane. They were playing there on a school night with the Underbeats. There was a very popular television show called The Fugitive which was having its television finale that night [August 29, 1967] and the drummer from the Underbeats was giving a blow by blow description of what was going on in that finale between songs. “Richard Kimball has found and is chasing the one armed man who murdered his wife” It was hilarious.
Bruce Glewwe remembers: “That whole area was probably farm land then. Went there only once…pretty freaky for a couple 16 year old guys from South St. Paul. The ‘black lights’ inside scared us off and we didn’t go in. We probably didn’t have the dollar or two it would have cost to enter either.”
BATTLE OF THE BANDS ’69
The Caretakers won the Battle of the Bands in 1969, sponsored by Len’s Guitar City. The sax player on the left is Richard Wieser – Tom Riopelle says Wieser played with Fairchild for many years to come. Lauren McArthur was on tenor sax, Bob Burtis on soprano sax, Steve Kenet on bass, Dave Weiking on drums, Mark Orlusky on lead guitar, and Dick Hiebler on keyboards. Bob Burtis says, “We did a killer version of ‘Heat Wave!'” Bob remembers, “We won a nifty reel to reel tape recorder and a little trophy!”
Another contestant at the Battle of the Bands was Flight ’69. Not affiliated with the band Flight that became Pepper Fog.
On August 8, 1969, Insider photographer Mike Barich made a trip to the Barn:
There was no liquor served at the Barn, but teens seemed to get in trouble anyway…
THE PURPLE BARN
In 1970, the Barn was renamed the Purple Barn (Phil Kitchen says to sound more psychedelic), and in June 1970 the Friday night dances were dropped, leaving only Saturday nights. An article in the Minneapolis Star noted that dancing was waning and “listening is in.” (Peter Vaughan, November 14, 1970)
The posters below, from January and February 1971, indicate that the club was back to being open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Eventually the teen clientele dropped, partly replaced by school dances, and hit hard by the lowering of the drinking age in 1973. By 1973 it was the only teen rock club left, open only on Fridays. The last hit in the paper is in January-February 1973, where the Purple Barn was the site of an Antiques Flea Market.