Some gorgeous, historic buildings were built to inspire commerce,

some for pride –to show prosperity or power.

The Historic Bessesen was built for love.

This amazing building, built in 1916 began romantically as an Opera Palace. When Doctor William Bessesen fell in love with the beautiful, internationally acclaimed opera singer, Miss Beatrice Gjersten, he spared no expense to create this stately structure with classic charm to showcase her talents.

Beatrice taught singing and acting in the conservatory on the second floor and performed in the theater below. The building has since been home to the Rivoli movie theater, a tea house, YWCA club rooms and much more. Currently, it houses Studio 1, Bragen’ Rights Photography, Mark Kness, Christian Chiropractic, Kids’ College and the Freeborn County Arts Initiative.

The Historic Bessesen Building, located at 224 South Broadway in Albert Lea, Minnesota, is a National Historic Landmark, and a contributing property in the National Registered Historic District. Designed by St. Paul architects Van Kirk and Cedarberg, the building has a fantastic French Renaissance style facade.

Restoring a building of this size requires a serious commitment. For America to have a rich architectural and cultural history in the future we really have to make an effort now.

We are determined to succeed. Our building has inspired many. We know it could inspire many more. We need your help to get it done.

Donate today.

Help save the Historic Bessesen.

All donations are tax deductible. Donate securely online now via PayPal.

Friends of the Historic Bessesen

Susanne Crane

Susanne Crane, building owner, artist, educator and poet.

Freeborn County Arts Initiative

The Freeborn County Arts Initiative is a 501c3 nonprofit that calls the Historic Bessesen home.

Elisha Andrew Marin

Elisha Andrew Marin is a musician, graphic designer, educator and president of the Freeborn County Arts Initiative.

Get in touch with us.

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Restore the Building

224 S Broadway Ave

Studio 1

Albert Lea, MN 56007

Designed by Elisha Andrew Marin || Hosted by Tess Design || ©2016 Restore the Building – All Rights Reserved