Purple Places: A Digital History Tour of Prince's Minneapolis

Tour curated by: Kirsten Delegard, University of Minnesota; Michael Lansing, Augsburg University; Kristen Zschomler, Minnesota Department of Transportation. Technical support for this project provided by Christy Mattingly and Stewart Van Cleve, Augsburg University.

Purple Places seeks to illuminate the physical locations associated with Minneapolis native son and musician Prince Rogers Nelson. Prince was globally significant as an artist. This digi-tour seeks to root him in the place he called home. Minneapolis was central to the musician's identity. "I'm as much a part of the city where I grew up as I am anything," he explained in 1997. This conviction was central to his life and work.

This interactive map is the outgrowth of years of work by the curatorial team. Since the musician's death, Kristen Zschomler has been working to identify properties connected to Prince that merit historic designation. The goal is to ensure preservation so that future scholars and fans can understand the physical and cultural environments that shaped the artist. Kirsten Delegard and Michael Lansing have co-authored an article that explores the relationship between the musician and his hometown. "Prince and the Making of the Minneapolis Mystique" appeared in the Fall, 2018 issue of the Middle West Review.

Please note that the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson is not affiliated, associated or connected with “Purple Places,” nor has it endorsed or sponsored “Purple Places.” Further, the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson has not licensed any of its intellectual property to the owners of “Purple Place.”

The Purple Places Team would like to thank the following individuals for their generous support, especially with images: Dom Puglisi, Daniel R. Pratt, Steve Orfield, Charles "Chazz" Smith, Joan Howard and the other children of John Glanton, Ted Hathaway, Heidi Heller, and Daniel Bergin. For insights and stories, we thank Charles Smith, Terry Jackson, Pepe Willie, Chris Moon, Herb Pilhofer, Tyka Nelson, jooZt Mattheij,and Thomas de Bruin.

Locations for Tour

Opened in 1951 by members of Minneapolis’s Jewish community, this hospital provided Jewish doctors and nurses with the opportunity for employment in a city that was known for anti-Semitism. Mt. Sinai welcomed Jewish medical professionals as well as…

The Nelsons purchased this home on Eighth Avenue North in March 1965. For the previous seven years they had been living at 915 Logan Avenue North. They kept that house and rented it out. It has since been demolished. Prince’s musical genius…

Prince was introduced to Seventh-day Adventism by his aunt, Mary Hill, a devout Christian who brought the young boy to worship services in this church during the late 1960s. Prince was accompanied by his cousin Charles “Chazz” Smith, who was…

This was the home of Charles “Chazz” Smith, Prince’s cousin and musical collaborator. Grand Central—Prince's earliest band—had its roots here. Prince and Charles would jam in the den above the garage, and neighborhood kids would come…

Prince attended his neighborhood school, John Hay Elementary (demolished), until the end of third grade (1964-1967). For his fourth grade year in 1967-1968, his family enrolled him in a voluntary program that bussed him to Kenwood Elementary School,…

When Prince transferred to Bryant Junior High in 1970, he met the future musician and producer James "Jimmy Jam" Harris. He reportedly spent all his free time in the music room, and took courses on the business of music. Here he cultivated his…

Following his divorce from Prince’s mother in 1968, John Nelson lived briefly in the Logan house, and then moved to an apartment on Glenwood Avenue. Nelson bought this house in December 1972, when Prince was fourteen-years old. After moving out of…

Prince lived intermittently with his Aunt Olivia in this home while attending school at Bryant Junior High School and Central High School. Between 1970 and 1976, Prince called this corner of the Old Southside home. But the two clashed over Prince’s…

Prince spent his last year of high school (1975-1976) living at Bernadette Anderson’s home at 1244 Russell Avenue North. Anderson was the mother of the musician later known as André Cymone. She supported the musical aspirations of her children…

The Way was a Northside community center established in the aftermath of the urban unrest of 1966  resulting from racial and economic inequalities. In its wake, city leaders came together to create a space in the neighborhood devoted to cultivating…

Central High School was the heart of the Southside African-American community for most of the twentieth century. Despite protests, the Minneapolis Public Schools decided to close the building in 1982. It was demolished soon thereafter (except for the…

Local musician Pepe Willie hired Prince to play guitar and synthesizer in 94 East for a recording session at Cookhouse Studio. This was the young musician’s first-ever professional recording. Previous iterations of the studio saw the recording of…

In early 1976, Prince cut demo tapes here with his friends and bandmates André Cymone and Morris Day. Studio owner and part-time music producer Chris Moon recognized Prince’s talent. He helped the young musician better understand record…

This location served as the office and studio owned by Owen Husney, a local musician and producer. In 1976, Chris Moon introduced Prince to Husney, who was blown away by Prince’s talent, and became the musician's manager and mentor. Prince,…

Built in 1970, Sound 80 Studio attracted artists as varied as Bob Dylan, Lipps, Inc., the Suicide Commandos, and Cat Stevens to record in their state-of-the-art studio. During the early months of 1977, the relatively-unknown Prince took a turn at the…

This now-demolished building—an actual tire store—proved crucial in the development of Prince’s music. In the summer and fall of 1978, he rented a room in the back of the building to serve as an audition and rehearsal space. Then he placed an…

Built in 1927 as the Paradise Movie Theater, this longstanding institution on Minneapolis’s North side became the Capri Theater after renovations in 1967. Prince chose this location as the venue for his debut as a national recording artist. He…

Located on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, a location famously referred to in his debut movie Purple Rain (1984), Prince rented this property between 1979 and early 1981. The house in this bucolic suburb birthed what one critic called Prince's…

This location served as Prince's primary artistic headquarters for a critical period in the 1980s. In 1981, he purchased the house and the adjacent lot for privacy, repainted the two-story ranch home purple, and transformed the building into his…

In 1984, Prince put First Avenue on the map. That was the year that his film, Purple Rain, was released. The movie used First Avenue as a backdrop and a shooting location. From that point forward, the club and the musician would be linked in the…

This longstanding Minneapolis performance venue, built in 1921 to host vaudeville acts, was later converted into a movie theater. Minnesota native Bob Dylan purchased the shuttered theater in 1979, and repurposed it into a performance space. Reborn…

Prince never lived in this home—except in the movies. Fans, however, continue to envision this house as a symbol of Prince's rags-to-riches story. This nondescript building in a historically African-American enclave of the Howe neighborhood…

This now-demolished single family home served as Prince's primary residence from 1985 through the mid-2000s. It was his studio from 1985 until the completion of Paisley Park in 1987. He used its recording facilities to craft tracks later…

Paisley Park—named after the track on his 1985 album Around the World in a Day—remains synonymous with Prince. From 1987 until his death in 2016, Paisley Park served as Prince's official recording studio and part-time residence. Now open to…

In 1989, Prince opened his own night club at this location, naming it Glam Slam after the song of the same name from the album Lovesexy (1988). Besides hosting a wide range of musical acts, Prince himself performed there at least 19 times. Owning his…

The Purple Places Team would like to thank the following individuals for their generous contributions to this digital tour. Dom Puglisi, owner of Diamond and Pearls Photography, shared his striking images which highlight the beauty of Prince's…