Local Current Blog

Plaques signifying notable sites in Minneapolis music history? After new study, it could happen

The State Theatre, which opened in 1921, is a venue that could be considered significant in Minneapolis music history. (illustration by Allegra Lockstadt for The Current)

The City of Minneapolis has launched a study to identify important buildings in Twin Cities music history. Made possible by a grant from the National Park Service and the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minneapolis Music History Project is focusing on buildings built from 1850 to the start of the 20th century and involves asking the public what buildings are important to them.

“I think one thing that’s important to us in the study is that we cover as many genres as we can possibly find information about,” said the project’s planning manager, Jason Wittenberg. “Clearly rock music and rock music sub-genres are going to have a little bit more information readily available partly because of some of the resources that have recently been released, but we want to make sure we are not overlooking anything.”

To make sure they don’t overlook any important buildings, organizers are working with a steering committee and are reaching out to the general public through the study’s website and an online survey. Last month the organizers set up a booth at the VocalEssence concert at Orchestra Hall to connect with Minnesota music fans. They will also be hosting two additional outreach sessions at the Capri Theater and at Inbound Brewery to get more feedback from music fans who are interested in participating in the study.

The study will run until the the end of April. After that, the organizers will be working with a consultant to survey the buildings and will then write a final report that will be submitted to the Minnesota Historical Society and will be available to the general public online.

But Wittenberg says the study is just the first step in identifying important buildings in the city’s music history. “This will identify what properties may be important for further study and potential preservation. And we may look into some opportunities as well to recognize sites in Minneapolis that maybe don’t rise to the level of historically designating as individual landmarks,” he said.

Ultimately, plaques or other visible markers may be affixed to notable sites. “We don’t know exactly what those are yet,” says Wittenberg, “but there will probably be opportunities for some sort of recognition that people will see that this was an important part in Minneapolis music history.”

Simone Cazares is a student at Saint Paul College. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.