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The Terrace,I know is architecturally significant in the sense that it is hard to find such a fine example of the international style of the 1950’s era in the Twin Cities (as well as the Twin Cities Metro Area). I imagine it has historical significance too given how popular of a destination it had been. I’ve been trying to find out this information for you, and during my search I was directed to the Northwest Architectural Archives. I checked out their website and it appears that they have old photo’s and architect drawings of it under their Liebenberg and Kaplan collection. The pieces can be viewed at the archives by appointment.
Am I getting this right, the current owner of the Terrace wants to tear it down? I’m also curious, based on what you said, if you are a part of the local government in Robbinsdale, or have any leverage that could help in preventing the building’s destruction? Finding a funding source for these kinds of projects will always be an issue, but it has been done. The Schubert Theater in downtown Minneapolis, and the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis are two examples. I think a problem that there is in the case of the Terrace is it’s age, being from the 1950’s instead of an earlier time alot of people come to the assumption that there is a whole lot of these buildings around. The reality is that there are far less classic theaters from the 1950’s through early 1970’s than there are earlier periods, especially here in the Twin Cities. I think in order to begin getting private funding the theater first needs to be protected from both demolition and decay so that energy is in lobbying for a renovated building instead of trying to convince people not to destroy it. I think classic theaters in the metro area should have a display with photos and the history of a endangered classic local theater such as the Terrace and ask on the display to please contribute either money,their time or both. Another thing that should have been done a long time ago is that the county and state should have a local landmark preservation tax that helps keep buildings of local significance from being destroyed or fall into extreme disrepair. It is really sad that alot of times buildings do not need that much repair until a roof failure causes extensive water damage, a property owner is alowed to alter, or in the case of the Terrace, gut a significant part of a building’s interior.
The Terrace is still vacant, and the most recent plans I heard for it was medical offices. This proposed redevelopment would, unfortunately, destroy most of the theater’s beautiful lobby leaving only a small portion at the main entry (the doors under the Terrace’s tower). I suppose it would be better than seeing the whole building destroyed, but there has got to be a better solution that would save that lobby. It is my understanding that Carmike Cinemas (the theater’s last owner) removed some of the theater’s fixtures and that vandals have made their way in over the years, but overall it is in pretty decent shape, hopefully no more damage will be done before a re-use is found, and hopefully the reuse itself will not damage the character of the building.
Does anyone know if there is anything left of this drive in?
This is the only operating theater I know of in the Twin Cities area with spanish influence. The only other that even comes close is the old El Lago Theater next to the Lake Street Garage restaraunt. That theater, was, however turned into a church a long time ago, and I dont believe much of the original interior is left, though there is still a gorgeous facade with beautiful spanish wall ornamentation at the main entry. I too wonder why the name was switched to Suburban World. I’m pretty sure that name doesn’t describe the theater as well as Granada does. I would like to see the name changed back to Granada, and the original sign recreated. I dont think many people realize how grand the place is because unfortunately Suburban World does not sound so ritzy.
The Heights has a very cozy and unique auditorium, and the lobby is decorated with very neat nostalgia. I like to go to movies here not only because of the splendidness of the theater, but because it seems its owners really care about the place. The theater continues to look better and better. I would like to see more of a main street feel take shape around the building, however, as it feels a little out of place right now given it is practically the only building on that side of the road (most everything else is set back so far from Central Avenue that there is no streetscape) The Heights with a revamped Central Avenue would definetly be a Grand site.
The Cottage View, I think, is the most classic Drive-In left in the Twin Cities area, and with the exception of the Starlite in Litchfield, the state of Minnesota. This theater has been in threat of demolition for a couple of years now. Plans to rip it out for retail development are in the making right now. I have contacted the city of Cottage Grove’s planning department regarding the proposal. There is, at least for right now, an interest in saving and restoring the Cottage View’s sign. I would hope there is an effort being put into saving that lovely sign at the very least. I’m hoping people from the area, and folks who love classic theaters will insist on this. That sign is perhaps one of the best remaining examples of roadside architecture in the whole Twin Cities metro area. It would also make sense to incorporate the drive – in itself into the new development as well. Big box retail, like the one proposed to replace the Cottge View have HUGE parking lots that sit entirely empty come night. People who think that the land is too valuable to keep the Cottage View on the site should really think about this one.
This is my favorite Twin Cities cineplex. The interior has an art deco look and feel to it that in a way makes it seem like a glitsy classic theater. I’m glad that the original exterior front facade and marquee was save and incorporated into the new cineplex. I look at this theater and wonder why this kind of development doesn’t happen more often instead of complete demolition.
I love this theater. It is a classic, and the theater appears practically unaltered from it’s original appearance. Even most of the original furniture has been preserved.
It appears that the new owners of the Parkway are currently removing the streamlined style metal facade that has been on the theater for decades. An old terra cotta facade is beginning to be re-exposed. From what I’ve heard Pepito’s is planning on using the theater as some form of a club, which I think is not a bad reuse, but only if no major alterations to the interior occur. The art deco staircases in the lobby and the elaborate ceiling in the auditorium NEED to be kept and I encourage people to make sure that this detail gets preserved.
Thanks for emailing me with those pics bigred, The last time I had seen the Southtown Theater was just before it was torn down. I had not seen pictures of it EVER, my memory was all I had. Southtown was where our family went to see most movies, and I believe it was one of the most popular theaters in the Twin Cities south suburbs. It was always such a fun place, and even after the Mall of America Theater opened still remained a mainstream theater. The lobby in Southtown was gorgeous, and it had to be some of the area’s finest 1960’s interior decor. I do not remember what the original auditorium looked like for it was divided into two screens before I was even born. The Twin Cities now only has two theaters left with decor along the lines of Southtown in style and era. One is the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis (still operating) another is Terrace in Robbinsdale (closed but still standing)However these theaters were built about a decade earlier, and are better examples of the 1940’s and 50’s rather than the 1960’s styles. I hope that there are still parts of the Southtown’s lobby still in existence today, maybe theater chains will someday use such relics to build grand theaters once again. Right now, I’ve not been too impressed with the new cineplex theaters that have opened, it’s hard to like them when you recall how much better the classics were.
I recall this theater having three screens. It must have been huge before being divided into three. The lobby of the Terrace was huge, probably the largest I’ve ever seen, both in space and height. It also was beautifully equipped with splendid early 50’s design. I seen many movies there, including right before it closed and the place was in great shape. Hopefully it is currently not falling into disrepair since it closed. For those who love the 1950’s this theater, I believe is a valuable relic.
bigred, I understand you have photos of the Southtown Theater; could you please email me them? My address is
Am wanting to see photo’s of this theater. I’m amazed that not even the Minnesota Historical Society has pictures of it; Southtown was beautiful. I think what happened is that it never crossed anyone’s mind that such a neat gathering place would ever be torn down. When word did come, the theater was closed and torn down in almost a blink of an eye. I thought it was pretty sneaky of the (then) owners of the building, Kraus Anderson Reality. This lovely building was pretty much replaced with a McDonald’s. Please email pics of this theater to me a