People who lived in Fargo or Moorhead some years ago enjoy reminiscing about the movie theaters they attended.
Take Michael Jones, for instance.
He writes about the Princess Theater on NP Avenue one block east of the Towne Theatre, Fargo, and the Park Theatre on Front Street at the south end of Broadway.
When he wrote Neighbors last fall, Michael said he was born in Fargo 77 years ago. “I lived uptown from 1954 till 1960 when I graduated from Central High, and I still haven’t left,” he says.
Jim Opgrand, Moorhead, backs Michael up.
Writing after a Neighbors column about Maureen (Crowley) Kerce growing up in Fargo, Jim said he also grew up in Fargo in the 1950s, and he, too, graduated from Fargo Central in 1960.
Then he, too, says what Michael says about the location of two theaters.
“The Princess was not on Front Street (as the earlier column said); it was at 415 NP Ave. across from the Towne Theater. The Park Theater at 504 was on Front Street.”
To pull all this Fargo-Moorhead theater history together, Neighbors turns to a story written for The Forum in 2013 by Dave Olson, who is still on The Forum staff.
Here’s what Dave wrote:
Below are some of the movie theaters that once dotted the Fargo-Moorhead entertainment scene.
Cinema Lounge, which first opened in 1980 in the former Bud’s Roller Rink at 2121 1st Ave. N., in Moorhead, was a place where you could watch the movie “Slap Shot” while drinking a beer chaser. The theater moved to the Moorhead Center Mall in the early 1980s. It closed in 1989.
Cinema 70 opened in 1968 at 3501 S. University Drive, Fargo. It later became South Cinema. The theater closed in 1989 and was torn down a few years later.
Cinema I and II was located in the West Acres Shopping Center. It closed in the early 1980s after a six-screen complex was built near the mall.
Gateway Theater opened in the early 1970s in the Gateway shopping center in downtown Fargo. It closed in the early 1980s.
Grand Theater, 622 1st Ave. N., Fargo, opened in 1906 as a vaudeville house. It burned in 1932 and was rebuilt in 1934. A parking lot is now at that address.
Isis Theater, 218 Broadway, Fargo, opened in 1916. Damaged by fire in 1955, it never reopened.
Lark Theater, 630 1st Ave. N., Fargo, opened in 1970 and stopped showing films in 1983. Built elevated with a parking lot beneath it, the structure sat empty for years before it reopened as the Cinema Grill in 1997. The Cinema Grill fizzled out in 2001, and the building was torn down in 2008.
Moorhead Theater, 414 Center Ave., Moorhead, was built about 1911 and torn down in 1973.
Park Theater, 504 Front St., Fargo, opened near Island Park in 1938. It was gone by the mid-1950s.
Princess Theater opened in 1914 at 415 NP Ave. in Fargo. It operated until the early 1960s.
Roxy, 117 Broadway, opened in 1932. Its name was changed to Broadway Theater in the 1960s. The movie house ended its days showing X-rated flicks and closed in the mid-1980s.
Safari Theater, 925 30th Ave. S., Moorhead, began showing movies in 1972 on two silver screens. It had seven screens by 1988. A 2004 fire destroyed much of the wildlife motif decor that was the theater’s hallmark for three decades. Currently up for sale (Dave wrote in 2013) it is not expected to remain a movie theater. Marcus Theaters, which owns the Safari, has said it is selling the property because converting from 35mm film projection to a digital format, which all movies will soon be released on, was deemed too expensive.
Towne Theater, 508 NP Ave., Fargo. Originally named State Theater, it opened in 1921. It had seating for 1,350, an orchestra pit and a pipe organ. It was torn down in 1973 to make room for a parking lot.
Moon-lite drive-in , located on Highway 75 south of Moorhead, opened in 1953, but closed shortly thereafter when a windstorm damaged its screen. It reopened in 1956, then closed in 1988.
Fargo’s Star-lite drive-in opened in 1949 at 19th Avenue and North University Drive. It closed in 1981.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email email@example.com.