Metropolitan Theatre

Downtown Rochester

Metropolitan Theatre

Rochester, Minnesota 55902, United States

Created By: History Center of Olmsted County


You are now standing next to a site once occupied by the Metropolitan Opera House. It was a major icon of the late 19th and early 20th century. From 1902 and until it closed in 1931, it was the center of culture in Rochester. At the time the city was casting off its rural past. It was becoming quite cosmopolitan. Doctors and other professionals were coming to town in large numbers. They brought with them a demand for cultural entertainment. A three thousand seat opera house met that expectation. On Saturday and Sunday, operas, plays and later select movies afforded the entertainment. Midweek was another story. Certain members of the population demanded another form of entertainment, specifically boxing and to lesser extent wrestling. Most Wednesdays and select Fridays one or both were on display. Such performances provided the theatre with additional capital. That allowed them to bring bigger and more expensive shows to the community. Unfortunately, Wednesday nights got out of hand on occasion. At times, members of the audience and the participants got physically ‘engaged’. In such cases the Police Chief would have to intervene and break up the altercation. Over time, movies became a more popular venue; live theatre would fade away, be it slowly. In the early 1900’s Rochester had four production theatres, a decade later the number was half that. The Metropolitan’s final performance was in January 1931. The building was later torn down. In its place Montgomery Ward is built. Today it’s a Post Office.

History Center of Olmsted County

This point of interest is part of the tour: Downtown Rochester


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