Minneapolis Armory

Minneapolis Armory

The Minneapolis Armory in 2006
Location 500–530 6th St., S.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Coordinates 44°58′30.33″N 93°15′47.8″W / 44.9750917°N 93.263278°W / 44.9750917; -93.263278Coordinates: 44°58′30.33″N 93°15′47.8″W / 44.9750917°N 93.263278°W / 44.9750917; -93.263278
Area 2.5 acres (1.0 ha)
Built 1935–36
Architect P.C. Bettenburg; Walter H. Wheeler,
Architectural style PWA Moderne
NRHP Reference # 85002491[1]
Added to NRHP 26 September 1985[2]

The Minneapolis Armory is located in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The armory was built for the Minnesota National Guard in 1935–36 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.[2]

On July 2, 2015, it was announced that the Armory was purchased by a local development firm for $6 million.[3] The developer plans to convert the space from a parking facility to a mid-sized events center.[4] The firm estimates renovations will be complete within 12–18 months.


The armory was the costliest single building in Minnesota supported by a Public Works Administration grant. The building is an example of the PWA Moderne style, a design characterized by strong geometry, bold contouring and integrated sculpture ornamentation.[5] The building was designed by St. Paul architect P.C. Bettenburg, who was also a major in the Minnesota National Guard.[6] St. Paul artist Elsa Jemne painted murals in the building.[7]

From the late 1930s through the 1970s, it was a venue for civic events, including concerts, political conventions and sporting events such as Golden Gloves tournaments. The building was used by the Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association as a part-time home between 1947–59,[5] and as its primary home court for the 1959–60 NBA season.[8][9] The National Guard ceased operations at the armory in 1980.[5]

The interior of the Minneapolis Armory in 2006, during its incarnation as a parking structure

Hennepin County bought the armory in 1989 for $4.7 million, with plans to place a new county jail on the site.[6] The Minnesota Historical Society sued to stop its destruction and in 1993 the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the structure was protected by state law and could not be torn down because of its historical status.[6] In 1998, the county sold the building for $2.6 million to a private company for use as a parking structure on condition that it be preserved.[5]

Minneapolis native Prince used the building to shoot the music video for "1999" in 1982.[10] 16 years later, Aerosmith recorded the video for their song "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" in the armory.[11]

See also


  1. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 Nord, Mary Ann (2003). The National Register of Historic Places in Minnesota: A Guide. St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 95. ISBN 0-87351-448-3.
  3. Painter, Kristen Leigh. "Armory in downtown Minneapolis sold to developer who plans events venue". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  4. Black, Sam. "Ned Abdul buys Minneapolis Armory, plans entertainment center". bizjournals.com. Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Hennepin County Fact Sheets: Minneapolis Armory
  6. 1 2 3 Millett, Larry (2007). AIA Guide to the Twin Cities: The Essential Source on the Architecture of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-87351-540-4.
  7. McGlauflin, ed., Who's Who in American Art 1938–1939" vol.2, The American Federation of Arts, Washington, D.C., 1937 p. 274
  8. Thornley, Stew (1989). The History of the Lakers : Basketball's Original Dynasty. Minneapolis, Minn.: Nodin Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-931714-39-7.
  9. Gustavo, Solomon (September 7, 2016). "The Armory: Remains of Minnesota sporting glory". MinnPost.
  10. MTV MUSIC - Prince - Pop Up Video "1999"
  11. IMDB profile for "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing": Filming location
Preceded by
Minneapolis Auditorium
Home of the
Minneapolis Lakers

1959 1960
Succeeded by
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
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