Empire Theatre

310 S. Main Street,
Minot, ND 58701

Unfavorite 4 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Finkelstein & Ruben

Architects: Jack J. Liebenberg

Firms: Liebenberg and Kaplan

Nearby Theaters

Empire Theater, Minot ND, about 1956.

Built by the Finkelstein & Rubin chain to replace their State Theatre which they closed on September 1, 1954 (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures). The Empire Theatre was opened on September 2, 1954 with Ann Blythe & Edmund Purdom in “The Student Prince”. Advertising itself as the ‘only’ theatre in the world designed expressively for the presentation of CinemaScope'. It had an unusual design, being a ‘reverse theatre’, with the screen at the front of the building, behind the fa├žade. Seating was provided for 1,248 in orchestra and balcony levels. The 66 feet wide screen was one of the largest in the country at that time.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kencmcintyre on September 4, 2006 at 7:04 am

Here is a photo of the Empire taken sometime in the 1950s:

kencmcintyre on July 1, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Here is a depressing news clip about the theater’s demolition in January 1985:

3rdgencinemawrkr on January 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm

The Empire Theatre indeed was located on Main Street. To be exact, it was located on the northwest corner of Main Street and Burdick Expressway. Today this location is the north parking lot for the Trinity Hospital & Clinic. If one looks at the 1950s photo from ken mc, which is looking north up Main Street, you can see the church, which is still there, just to the north of the auto dealer. The Main Street Medical Clinic now sets where the auto dealership was. The Trinity Hospital Emergency Room & Ambulance Parking Lot is now where the Mobile Station was. If one views the video of the theater’s demolition, from ken mc, they can see the Hospital and Clinic in the background, with the skywalk between the two clearly shown. The one thing that I will always remember about the Empire, is its huge red velvet curtains.The day that the Empire Theatre closed was a sad day, not only for Minot, but all of northwest North Dakota. I have lived an hour from Minot my whole life [i’m 44] and can remember that going to Minot for movies at the Empire was always a treat. There has always been a theater in the town I live in [i am now the projectionist there] but it was very plain & the screen was tiny compared to the Empire. Unfortunatly, as was the case with many old theaters, the multiplex became the preferred venue, and theaters like the Empire could not compete. If anyone has any photos of the interior of the Empire, please share them. I do not have any photos of the Empire, but I will always cherish the fond memories from my youth.

3rdgencinemawrkr on January 24, 2011 at 7:45 pm

A couple more corrections that I forgot to include in my previous comment.

It was the Trinity Medical Center not the “Liberty Medical Center” that purchased the property.

Main Street is residential only south of 5th Avenue South and North of 4th Avenue North. Between these Avenues is Main Street’s Business District.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 13, 2011 at 3:39 am

Regis, you will be pleased to see this three-page article about the Empire Theatre, from Boxoffice, October 23, 1954. There are several photos of the theater, and a small floor plan and cross section. Click on the “next page” links to see the subsequent pages.

Although the Boxoffice article gives the impression that the Empire’s reverse theater design was an innovation by Liebenberg & Kaplan, there had in fact already been a dozen or more reverse theaters operating in the United States and England, some of them dating back to the early years of the century.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm

This weblog post has an exterior photo of the Empire Theatre, and this one features a photo of the lobby.

robboehm on May 25, 2016 at 12:43 pm

The Minot Memories Blog, the source of the photos referred to by Joe, which I’ve uploaded, also indicates that, for a time the Empire had a series package, 10 tickets for a Saturday performance for $2.00. Each ticket indicated the film being shown. Children could also obtain free admission by collecting the medallions from milk cartons.

The site is now a parking lot for the medical center.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.