The Heights Theater is the Twin Cities longest continuously operated show house. Established in 1926 during the prohibition, it showcased local theater and vaudeville acts in addition to movies in its early years. Meticulously restored in 1998-2005 to its former glory, this theater is now a community treasure specializing in first-run family films, classics, foreign releases, live entertainment and organ concerts Friday and Saturday nights.


The Heights Theater survived at least three fires, one bombing and a tornado, and when Tom Letness and Dave Holmgren bought the Heights Theatre in November 1998 it looked like a big turquoise box… with all its beautiful detailing stripped and/or covered over by multiple remodels over the years. 

Through historic photos and original blueprints archived at the University of Minnesota they painstakingly restored it to the gem it is today, and along the way also purchased and restored the Dairy Queen next door.

One of the outstanding features of the theater auditiorium is the beautiful antique chandeliers c. 1914, which came from a big movie house in Texas that was destroyed in the 1950s. The chandeliers also needed restoration, which included importing over 2500 lead crystals from Egypt.


During the restoration they discovered that the chambers for the pipe organ were still there, covered since a 1936 remodel. That provided a home for the mighty 4-manual Wurlitzer pipe organ from WCCO radio which highlights Friday and Saturday nights at the theater… no paid advertising before the movie, instead you are treated to a live concert!

We saw Midnight in Paris when we were there last week, a perfect fit for both the movie and our recent San Francisco visit where we saw both Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso exhibits.

In keeping with their showing of classic films, they are also currently screening a series of Billy Wilder movies including Some Like It Hot showcased in the Italian poster in the photo above.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX ResultsEmailTwin Cities Realtor


About Sharlene Hensrud

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

Related Posts

When School District is most important

Sometimes the most important piece of 'location, location and location' is school district. And while it would seem to make sense that to be part of a particular school district you would have to live in the city of the same name, that isn't necessarily the case… at least not in the Minneapolis – St. Paul metro.

Read More

Winterlights at the Purcell-Cutts House

If you drive down Lake Place by the Lake of the Isles you may not even notice that you pass by one of the most significant examples of Prairie School architecture in the country… the Purcell-Cutts House, designed and built by William Gray Purcell and George Grant Elmslie in 1913. It's easy to miss because it.

Read More

University Grove… unique University enclave of mid-century modern homes

If you are a University academic relocation and/or looking for a classic mid-century modern home, don't miss the awesome and unique University Grove neighborhood. Only 8 blocks long and one and a half blocks wide, University Grove is nestled between the University golf course and the awesome St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, with.

Read More