Excelsior Dock Cinema

26 Water Street,
Excelsior, MN 55331

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Built near the shores of Lake Minnetonka, in downtown Excelsior, the Tonka Theatre opened in 1941, a small but elegant Streamline-style whose auditorium was decorated with murals of steamboats on the nearby lake. Just three years later, however, the Tonka Theatre was gutted by a fire. It took an appeal to the War Production Board, as this occurred during WW II, and there were strict regulations on building materials. As it was the town’s sole movie house, the owners of the Tonka Theatre were allowed to rebuild, and during the summer of 1945, it was reopened.

In the 1970’s, the Tonka Theatre was twinned, and at the same time, received a new name, the Dock 1 & 2, with the main floor being Dock 1 and the former balcony, Dock 2. The theatre was triplexed during the 1980’s.

The theater remains a popular destination, screening a mix of first-run, art and foreign features.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

ItsJessMe
ItsJessMe on October 30, 2004 at 6:30 pm

This is an excellent movie house, and the upstairs screen has a great “stage” appearance between the audiance and the screen, with an old wooden barrel and an old heavy rope for decorations. They don’t, however detract attention from the movie you’re watching. The upstairs screen does have a short supply of seating however, but is in “stadium” style seating.

The main downstairs screen has (or had until recently?) a heavy red curtain which was down, before the movie begins, and is raised at the start of the opening previews. Great old style!

The new screen, off to the left, downstairs, is your basic movie screen theater. It doesn’t have stadium seating, but like the main downstairs screen, it offers a decent slope in the placement of the chairs.

I grew up watching movies in this theather, and have enjoyed the fact that the cost for viewing movies here is a LOT less than most movie theaters around the twin cities.

As a child, I recall going to movies at the Dock Theater (then called “The Dock 1 & 2”) Back then, they had movies that had been out for some time, but they only charged $1.50 when every other movie theater in the area was charging $4.50. Even now, their New Releases are much cheaper than the $8.50 you will be charged for new releases at other theaters.

Go and enjoy!

rasmus11
rasmus11 on January 19, 2006 at 4:18 pm

Love the Excelsior Dock Cinema! I live so close to it about 5 minutes away. I enjoy going to the movies there as it brings be back in time. I would go to a small town called Lodi, Wisconsin every summer when I was a child and so enjoyed the small town downtown theatre. The Excelsior Dock so reminds me of that theatre. I love that the theatre has not been modernized and still keeps its old time flavour. The movies are less expensive that most theatres and the popcorn is great!! Another plus is right across the street is a great ice cream store and a coffee shop where you can go after you attend a great movie experience. Enjoy!

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 21, 2009 at 10:43 pm

There is a photo circa 2006 on this page. Click on the photo to expand:
http://tinyurl.com/9ufvx3

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 18, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I don’t know what the current seating as a triplex is, but the Tonka Theater is listed in 1955 with 260 seats.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 19, 2009 at 1:38 am

Here is another photo of the Excelsior Dock Cinema.

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