The Armory was the most expensive building in Minnesota at one time. The building was designed by St.Paul architect P.C. Bettenburg, who was also a major in the Minnesota National Guard. From the late 1930s through the 1970s, it was a venue for civic events, including concerts, political conventions and sporting events.
The building was used by the Minneapolis Lakers as a part-time home between 1947–1959, and as its primary home court for the 1959–1960 NBA season.
In 1982, Minneapolis native Prince used the building to shoot the music video for “1999”. Sixteen years laters, Aerosmith recorded their music video for the song “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”.
Hennepin County bought the Armory in 1989 with plans to place a new county jail on the site. The Minnesota Historical Society sued and in 1993 the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the structure was protected by state law and could not be torn down because of its historical status.
As of early 2017, the Minneapolis Armory is poised to make a triumphant return. The venue has returned to its roots - being the host to a number of social functions: concerts, sporting events, trade shows, and other private celebrations.