Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: September 26

September 26, 1985 – The Minneapolis Armory was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on this date.1

“The armory was built for the Minnesota National Guard in 1935-36 and 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. The building was designed by St. Paul architect P.C. Bettenburg, who was also a major in the Minnesota National Guard.

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, and as its primary home court for the 1959–60 NBA season. The National Guard ceased operations at the armory in 1980.

Hennepin County bought the armory in 1989 for 4.7 million dollars, with plans to place a new county jail on the site. 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. In 1998, the county sold the building for 2.6 million dollars USD to a private company for use as a parking structure on condition that it be preserved. That is its present use.

Minneapolis native Prince used the building to shoot the music video for ‘1999’ in 1982. [Sixteen] years later, Aerosmith recorded the video for their song ‘I Don't Want to Miss a Thing’ in the armory.”2


Minneapolis Armory

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain September 26, 2012, as long as acknowledgement included.

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