Urban Theatre

247 Belgrade Avenue,
North Mankato, MN 56003

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The Urban Theatre opened in 1940 with seating listed at 380. The theatre was operated by Minnesota Amusement Co.

The theatre closed in 1954 and was later demolished. It is now the drive up for Valley Bank.

Any further information on the Urban Theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by Chuck

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 24, 2014 at 4:43 am

The opening of the Urban Theatre was noted in the November 4, 1936, issue of Motion Picture News:

“Open at North Mankato

“North Mankato, Minn., Nov. 3. — The Urban, 800-seat house built by H. E. Gilbert, Minneapolis contractor, and leased to Phil Gillman of St. Paul, was given a civic opening, participated in by the Chamber of Commerce, Mankato’s junior chamber and the Mayor.

“A parade was led by the high school band and included floats. Speeches were made from a platform in front of the house and the Mayor snipped a ribbon to signalize the opening.”

By 1937, the Urban had different operators, who entered a partnership with the regional Paramount-Publix subsidiary, the Minnesota Amusement Company. This item is from the July 9, 1937, issue of The Film Daily:
“Sheldon Grenge and his associates, Nick and Don Grenge, have entered into an agreement through which the Urban Theater, North Mankato, will be operated in conjunction with the Minnesota Amusement Co. theaters in Mankato. Don Grenge will continue as manager of the Urban.”
There were inconsistent reports of the Urban’s seating capacity. The Urban was clearly the unnamed house in this item from the September 5, 1936, issue of The Film Daily:
“H. C. Gilbert will open his new $50,000 theater at North Mankato, Minn., about Oct. 1. House seats 650.”
The October 5, 1936, issue of Motion Picture News had this item:
“The new 800-seat Urban at North Mankato. Minn., has been leased by Harry E. Gilbert to Phil Gillman.”
The inconsistent reports of the seating capacity were typical of the trade journals, including The Film Daily and its Yearbook, which too often gave inaccurate seat counts.

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