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Theatre History

The Mounds Theatre has a strong history as a recognised haunted location, over the years there have been paranormal TV show episodes filmed there and professional and amatuer investigations held there.

The following two stories detailing two of the three resident ghosts have been published in guidebooks to the haunted US & Canada and detail the authors personal encounter with them.

The Little Girl
The Man in the Projection Booth

 

On top of its haunted history, the Mounds Theatre has a historic one as well. In its lifetime it has functioned as a silent movie theatre & vaudeville stage, a warehouse and a childrens arts venue. Below are the mundane history details to introduce you to this unique building.
Historic Mounds Theatre - St. Paul, MN

Vital Statistics

- Built in 1922 as a venue for silent movies and live entertainment

- Renovated around 1933

- Renovated again in 1950 including extensive changes to the exterior

- Closed in July 1967

- Used as warehouse - 1967 to 2001

- Most recent renovation started in December 2001

- Theatre reopened in October 2003

- Location: 1029 Hudson Road, Saint Paul, MN; Scotten's Subdivision, Lot 72-Lyman Dayton's addition to St. Paul except East 11 feet-Lot 24 and all of Lot 23 and block 71

- Building: 8,600 square feet and partial basement.

- Originally had a 700-person seating capacity including the balcony. After the renovation, the seating capacity is approximately 250 with no balcony seating.

- Parking: On-street. Original parking lot is no longer available for use


The original face of the Mounds Theatre

 


The Theatre today!

About the Renovation Project

The Mounds Theatre renovation was a project led by Raeann Ruth and her nonprofit organization, which refurbished the old Mounds Theater building and transformed it into a new grassroots theater and community center for St. Paul's Dayton's Bluff neighborhood.

Now completed, the theater is used for plays and other types of live entertainment, movies, concerts, weddings and receptions, educational activities and neighborhood gatherings. The building is located at 1029 Hudson Road near Earl Street. Work began on the building in late 2001 and was finished in October 2003. General Contractor: Raddatz and Sons Construction, Arden Hills, MN

The renovation project addressed the needs of the Dayton's Bluff area at several levels;

- As home base for several arts and culture organizations, it creates a new "service center" in a strategically located, under-served section of the East Side

- As a grass roots meeting and activity center, it serves as a magnet for community building events

- As a performing arts center, the theater provides a venue for public expression and celebration of the Daytons Bluff area's unique and diverse cultures as well as a place where area residents can experience "traveling productions" from outside their immediate neighborhood.

- Refurbishing the property reduced the number of boarded-up buildings and blight in an under utilized, formerly thriving commercial area.

- Refurbishing the property created employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for area residents including the extended families of youth served by theatre's non profit.

Several events in late 1999/early 2000 led to the development of this project;

- George Hardenbergh, owner of the Mounds Theatre building, indicated his intent to donate the property it would be renovated into a facility to address unmet needs of youth and families on St. Paul's East Side.

- The Portage obtained bids to determine the cost of renovating the 1920s movie theater into a community and performing arts center.

- A STAR grant through the City of St. Paul was secured and a sizeable donation from an anonymous donor toward renovation costs was pledged.

- Potential nonprofit tenants and partners were involved in the planning of the new facility.

- Ongoing operation of the completed facility was also considered. Several tenants expressed interest in leasing space on a permanent or occassional basis.

 

 

 


The interior of the theatre, used as a warehouse for almost 50 years.

 


Echoes of its former glory were evident even after years of neglect.

 


After years of hard work, the theatre is restored!

 


Respectful of its origional 1920's beginnings, the theatre leans heavily on an Art Deco theme for its interior, as seen here at the restored ticket booth.

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