First Avenue and Seventh Street Entry, 701 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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First Avenue and Seventh Street Entry

Greyhound Depot, 701 First Avenue North, about 1940
Address: 701 First Avenue N
Neighborhood/s: Downtown/Warehouse District, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1937
Primary Style: Art Deco/Art Moderne
Historic Function: Other
Historic Function: Bus depot
Other Historic Function: Bus depot
Current Function: Theater/concert hall
Current Function: Music club
Other Current Function: Music club
First Owner: Northland Greyhound

Downtown/Warehouse District Minneapolis Hennepin

First Avenue and Seventh Street Entry, 701 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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When this building was constructed in 1937 it served as a Greyhound Bus depot, bringing passengers to and from Minneapolis. Travelers would have been impressed with the modern, streamlined design of the Art Moderne period. Since the late 1960s the building has been an important venue for music. In 1969 it was known as the Depot. In 1970 it became known by its current name of First Avenue.



The rock music nightclub known as First Avenue & 7th Street Entry traces its beginning to the establishment by Allen Fingerhut in 1968 of a rock music bar called The Depot in the vacated Greyhound bus station that he had acquired at the corner of Seventh Street and First Avenue North at the edge of the warehouse district in downtown Minneapolis. Two years later the club was franchised out to the American Events Company (Cincinnati), which opened another of its Uncle Sam's chain of disco clubs on the site.

Facing financial problems in 1979, AEC left Minneapolis, returning operation of the club to Fingerhut. Club manager Steve McClellan, who had been booking occasional, mostly local, live acts in the club since 1976, began intensifying those efforts, focusing on the the growing punk music movement in Minneapolis. In 1980 the club was rechristened First Avenue & 7th Street Entry, First Avenue housing the main stage and 7th Street Entry--a former restaurant area in the old bus station--housing a smaller stage dominated by local alternative and indie rock acts.

Since 1980 the two stages have hosted hundreds of rock, R&B, funk, alt-country, blues, and worldbeat acts from around the world, as well as continuing to serve as a professional stage for developing local acts--Prince, the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, the Jayhawks, and many others--who went on to achieve national and international renown. By 2000, the club boasted an annual attendance of 500,000 and an employee base of 120. 1

Memories and stories


Prince and I graduated from high school in the same year. I saw him at First Avenue just after 1994 was released. I was at his feet by the stage. We were packed in. This was before mosh pits. He was amazing. First Avenue was electric. It is amazing that to this day, people line up around the corner to get in. -- Ruby Rose Wilson, Saint Paul

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