What to Know About Paisley Park, Where Prince Died

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The studio residence where Prince was found dead on Thursday has always been hard to define, but exciting to describe.

Though he kept residence elsewhere as well, Paisley Park Studios outside Minneapolis long served as the central location for Prince’s work. But Paisley Park wasn’t just for him: TIME noted in 1990 that the artist’s choice to center his production in Minnesota effectively put the state’s music scene on the map at the time of its construction in 1986. Prince conceptualized the music haven, and paid for it to be built in Chanhassen, Minn.

The TIME article described the $10-million complex:

The proprietor’s favorite black-and-white ’67 T-bird can often be seen in the parking lot. But he likes to keep out of the way, partly from personal inclination and partly from business savvy. He doesn’t want anybody, according to one aide, ”to feel like they’ve walked into Graceland” when dropping by Paisley Park. He keeps his various awards, including those for his four gold and eight platinum albums, locked in a basement room. But next to it, almost like tablets in a tabernacle, are tapes of an estimated 100 unreleased songs, plus two complete albums — enough to keep Prince in royalties for years, even if he never writes another note…

Paisley Park, which showed a loss during its first two years, is now a thriving facility. The sound stage has been used for everything from rock videos to Hormel chili commercials. The recording studios are state-of-the-art, and so too, in its way, is Prince’s private office, which features three beds (king, round, day), one mirror (over the king), sofas, chairs and a desk — all built large-scale.

Prince’s office featured stained glass doors and a wall elsewhere featured a highly-placed illustration of his eyes with a “godlike sunburst” beaming from in between them, according to a later TIME article. There was also a large glass pyramid on top of the facility that glowed purple whenever he was in the building.

Prince recorded nearly 30 albums at Paisley Park Studios after 1987. He was 57 when he died.

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Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com