Agate Theatre

2225 E. Franklin Avenue,
Minneapolis, MN 55404

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Functions: Retail

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The 482 seat Agate Theatre opened in 1912. I cound not find much info on the theatre or who operated or owned the theatre.

Closed in 1950, the building has been altered and is in multiple use.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

devans326 on March 16, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Could this theatre have also been called the Agate, which was located at 2225 E. Franklin Avenue? The Agate is listed under independent theaters in this May 1934 ad:

kencmcintyre on March 16, 2010 at 9:36 pm

The current building is a karate studio, but looking at the map view I think that building was a successor to the 1912 structure.

Chris1982 on September 17, 2014 at 10:43 am

devan328 Yes this theatre was actually called the Agate Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm

The Agate Theatre has not been demolished, but the building has been drastically altered. It is actually down the block from the karate studio, close to the corner of 23rd Street. It is occupied by Precision Grind Coffee House (2223 Franklin East) and the Mezzanine Salon (2225 Franklin East.) The back of the former auditorium (or possibly a stage house) is occupied by Boneshaker Books, which has a 23rd Street address.

If you look at the side of the building from 23rd Street you can see that part of the original roof has been removed to lower the ceiling, but that the steel trusses that once supported it are still in place as part of the design. The walls are still standing, but the one facing 23rd Street has been fenestrated, and an addition has been built for what looks to be an apartment or an office above the book store, with a third-floor terrace supported on a couple of the old trusses.

There’s a third floor addition at the front of the building too, but the facade has what are probably some original features, including a cornice with central vault and some very nice tapestry brick work. Though the theater has been lost, the building is a creative example of adaptive renovation for a new use.

Chris1982 on September 18, 2014 at 5:29 am

Joe, there was a theatre in St. Louis called the Gravois where the steel trusses were external. Is that unusual in theatre construction?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 18, 2014 at 6:34 am

External trusses are rare in any type of construction (other than bridges, of course, where they must be external.) I have never seen a theater built that way, though I recall having seen in an architectural journal photos of a large factory with its roof suspended from exposed trusses. I can’t recall how long ago it was, but I think it was in the 1970s.

RickB on September 18, 2014 at 11:22 pm

One poster here has mentioned in passing two Chicago theaters with external trusses: the Four Star and the Michigan. No pictures showing the trusses though.

Forthehistory on July 3, 2015 at 2:57 am

Silent movies were played at this theater with a piano player for the score. Candy wrappers sold there occasionally gave out free movie passes. Just some history from an old customer.

chuckprentice on May 2, 2016 at 7:21 pm

My grandfather Ing Hansen and his brother Rummer Hansen build the Agate. My mom, Dorothy (Hansen) Prentice ran the theater in its last decade of operation.

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