Out goes Machinery Hill, in comes The Hangar.

Gliding into the Minnesota State Fair’s north end, The Hangar promises a refreshing change to the tractors of yesteryear.

The Hangar, northeast corner of Murphy Ave & Underwood.  Jeff Rutherford for ArtsCrawler

A large space, The Hangar was once a facility that housed airplanes and performed air shows. Revamped for 2018’s State Fair, The Hangar is a brand new destination for food, craft beer and free entertainment. But it’s kept much of it’s historic charm.

Fresh paint brings history to life.  Jeff Rutherford for ArtsCrawler

Built in 1909, established in 2018, The Hangar retains its original beams and trusses. Owners Nate and Stephanie Janousek worked with the State Fair’s archive department to preserve its heritage. “We’ve never worked with an archive department before,” said Nate. “They were really awesome. There are precious things here that can’t be replaced.”

(l) Stephanie Janousek, State Fair archivist Keri Huber, Nate Janousek.  Jeff Rutherford for ArtsCrawler

State Fair archivist Keri Huber helped the Janousek’s select photos from the State Fair archives to display inside The Hangar. “There used to be a half-mile landing strip here,” said Huber. “Planes would fly in and out.” Stunts were performed on the wings of the airplanes. When WWII arrived, it was used as a propeller plant and a lean-to for extra war supplies, she explained. Starting in 2008, the State Fair archives staff catalogs and sorts through tens of thousands of items and can be viewed digitally, according to the State Fair’s history and archive site.

1930 Air Craft show. The Hangar owners worked with the State Fair archives department to preserve its historic value.

Nate and Stephanie have kept the aircraft-themed decor and include other memorabilia paying homage to the building’s history. The menu features Slider Flights, breakfast items, smoked turkey legs, smoked brisket sandwiches, burgers, bacon-wrapped pork belly, kids meals, chicken-and-waffle ice cream splits topped with candied bacon, and a selection of local beers curated by members of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild.

The Hangar offers free entertainment on a daily basis.

Free daily entertainment at The Hangar.  Jeff Rutherford for ArtsCrawler

The Hangar is the former site of the Pet Center and surgery suite.  A newly-built 6,600 square foot open-air pavilion, located just west of The Hanger, will house purebred dog breed booths. “The Pet Center is more open air now,” said Huber. “Dogs like to smell fresh air and people are more free to go in and out of the building.” The Pet Surgery Suite, where Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association members perform spay and neuter surgeries, is also in the new Pet Center. A new Restroom Building is nearby.

The Hangar features Slider Flights on its menu.  Jeff Rutherford for ArtsCrawler

The Hangar is located at 1673 Murphy Ave, at the north end of the State Fair where Machinery Hill was located. Fully covered, The Hangar’s roof offers much needed shelter for those rainy State Fair days. The owners replaced all the windows and keep the doors open with giant fans for those hot, humid State Fair days. In addition, there is a large outdoor patio.

Fresh paint.  Jeff Rutherford for ArtsCrawler

Finishing touches.  Jeff Rutherford for ArtsCrawler

From 1909 to 2018.  Jeff Rutherford for ArtsCrawler

The 2018 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 23 – Labor Day, Sept. 3.

Archivist Keri Huber demonstrates an airplane. “This is called ‘not enough sleep'” she said.  Jeff Rutherford for ArtsCrawler

Black and white photos: Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair Archives


About Barb Teed

Barb has a M.A. in Liberal Studies from Hamline University, St. Paul, Minn., a B.A. in Media Studies from New School University, NYC., and Associates of Arts degree in Anthropology from Normandale Community College, Bloomington Minn. I was born in Duluth, Minn.