Local Current Blog

Historic Minneapolis White Castle soon to house Minnesota music history

White Castle building, as seen in 2008. (Jared Hanson/CC BY-NC 2.0)

The White Castle on 32nd and Lyndale is itself part of Minneapolis history. In 1986, the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission worked to protect this then 50-year-old piece of the city’s architectural history by having it saved from demolition and entered into the National Register of Historic Places.

The literal white castle will soon house another Minnesota preservation effort. This fall, local nonprofit Diverse Emerging Music Organization (DEMO) is set to make the space its new headquarters.

DEMO’s mission is, according to their website, “Sustaining and Promoting Minnesota’s Independent Music Legacy.” With their main endeavor, the Minnesota Music Archive Project, they’re focused on building an archive of music that may not be preserved otherwise, namely independent and small commercial recordings from Minnesota based artists and labels. DEMO intend to respect the artists’ or rights holders’ due, making sure they retain rights to their works and receive 100% of royalties generated via inclusion in the Archive.

The Lyn-Lake White Castle has lived a few different lives since its birth in 1936. White Castle used to have a subsidiary called Porcelain Steel Buildings that manufactured prefabricated, movable buildings like this one. The structure itself moved around Minneapolis a few times before settling at its current location in 1984. Since then, it has been home to a contracting firm, an accordion repair and lesson shop and jewelry store, and most recently Xcentric Goods, an antique and vintage goods shop.

Its next chapter as a Russian nesting doll of Minnesota’s historical preservation starts this October. Submissions for the Archive will soon be available for rights holders at archive.demomn.org. For more on the history of DEMO, read Andrea Swensson’s 2014 interview with founder Steve McClellan.