Memories of the downtown theaters of St. Paul

posted by CSWalczak on November 11, 2009 at 7:45 am

ST. PAUL, MN — In a recent article in the Pioneer Press, writer Tom Webb, former movie critic Bill Diehl, and others recall the movie theaters of downtown St. Paul. The article focuses on the Paramount, Orpheum, Strand, Tower, Riviera, World, and Lyceum, Now only the World (now the Fitzgerald) and the Orpheum are still with us, the latter currently vacant and decaying. The article includes a slide show with pictures of each theater.

Today, in an era of suburban multiplexes, video rentals and movie channels, the movie theater business model is radically different.

Yet, to those who loved downtown’s Technicolor era, the memories are like something from the movies.

‘Wabasha and Seventh was the busiest corner in St. Paul in those days,’ said Rod Ripley, a retiree who remembers the heyday of the ‘40s and '50s. 'All the streetcars met there for transfers and would line up there after midnight to leave on the hour.’

Read the whole article at

Comments (4)

telliott on November 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm

What a wonderful article. A damn shame that the Paramount could not have been saved and restored for Broadway shows and concerts….like so many other cities have done with some of their old movie palaces. They really WERE palaces in those days, weren’t they.

CSWalczak on November 11, 2009 at 7:17 pm

I would love to see a similar article – with the slide show and inteactive map – for other cities such as Chicago, Toronto, Detroit and others which clusters of theaters in downtowns.

carolgrau on November 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm

I always said and I always will if they are not running movies anymore then tear them down. Stop letting these fraud churches have them for tax free. Hit them with the wrecking ball.

CSWalczak on November 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Here’s a follow-up article about the Garrick, another downtown St. Paul theater that was not mentioned in the original article:

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment