MORE DRIVE-INS & HAUNTS

To Middle of Page                                         Minnehaha Park                         To Bottom of Page

 
                                                 ~ Minnehaha Falls ~                                                 
"There are great memories of Minnehaha Park, not only playing tennis, but in the winter, skating. 
The warming house had two big pot bellied stoves that would keep the warming house nice and toasty! 
It could get so cold outside, especially when it was below zero!!!! 
There was a special rink to the right as you went out of the warming house and that was where the hockey team practiced. 
And way in the back of the entire rink was a place where the figure skaters practiced. 
But I graduated in 1955 and I think all of that is gone now. 
Even the drug store and the bakery.  Fun to remember all those things tho! 
My husband and I live in Baja México now, just south of Rosarito and we really enjoy it!"

~ Submitted by:  Marilyn Ludvigson Scott, SHS, February 9, 2011 ~
(Webmaster:  I tried to respond to your questions, but do not have your complete email.)


Minnehaha Falls 1867
Minneapolis Public Library collection



 


~ My First Real Job ~

"Lani, gosh, I forgot to tell you about my first real job. 

I started at the Minnehaha Falls pony rink at age 11 (1950) at Hiawatha Avenue and the Parkway. 
I led the ponies around in a circle, shoveling up pony poop, frying my brains in the hot summer sun from 1:00 p.m. until dark. 
The pay was $4.00 for all day. 
 


Minnehaha Depot ("Princess")
4801 Minnehaha Avenue
Minneapolis 17, MN

Then I would head for Ray's Diner (later Paul Pearson's Drive-In), across from the Canteen, and had a chicken dinner for $1.25.  Not a lot of money made here, but Ray made good chicken. 

I must have really liked ponies.  I worked there three summers.  NOW THAT'S FUNNY!"  
Webmaster note What is even more amusing is that you very likely led me around the pony rink with my dad, one of the few memories of him that I hold.

Milwaukee Road employees referred to the Minnehaha Depot as the "Princess" because of its delicate gingerbread canopy. 
The depot was built in 1875 to replace a smaller station on the first railroad line into the Twin Cities from Chicago. 
In the depot's early years, Minneapolis residents flocked to Minnehaha Park via train to enjoy summer weekends. 
The depot is managed by the Minnesota Transportation Museum.  Photo 1971

~ Lloyd Washburn '57 ~
3/11/10

 

            

Pearson's Drive-In


Hiawatha & Minnehaha Parkway

Menu Favorites

Banquet Basket 65¢
Sandwiches
Deluxe Basket 85¢     Big Burger 60¢

Jumbo Shrimp Boat $1.25 & Filet de Sole 50¢
Home Made Pies & Fountain Specials

Return to Top of Page

In 1955, Pearson's Drive-In opened at the northwest corner of East Minnehaha Parkway and Hiawatha Avenue. 
They had great food and was a very popular place to hang out. 
I don't remember if people could eat inside, but I do remember the rows of cars and the speaker ordering system. 
If anyone has a photo of Paul Pearson's, it would be nice to include it on this web site.  Thanks, Jack and Marston (see below).

Today, the drive-in no longer exists, nor does Pearson's Edina Restaurant which was located at 50th and France Avenue South.  "The restaurant celebrated about 38 years in business at that location, having opened in 1973.  It recently closed on February 7, 2011.  Currently, the restaurant has been purchased and renamed.  See Marston Pearson's story below.  The Pearson family celebrates 73 years of business in Minneapolis."

"Paul Pearson, Sr. and his wife, Helen started in business in 1938.  Their first restaurant was the Town Talk Cafe at 38th and 23rd Avenue South.  This restaurant was a popular spot, right next to the busy Nile Theater.  Paul Sr. used to compete with the theater owner to see who could sell more popcorn. 
Ice cream cones were sold out the back door of the diner - the beginning of the drive-in era. 

In 1946, the Pearson's  built and operated the Town Talk Diner at 27th and East Lake Street. 
The Town Talk remained in the family until it was sold in 1975. 

As previously mentioned, in 1955, Pearson's Drive-In opened at Hiawatha & Minnehaha Parkway.  Car hops served customers at their cars.  The Pearsons were the first in the Midwest to have the new electronic ordering system.  Patrons could place their orders for burgers and fries over a speaker,
without having to leave their car. 

It was a tremendously successful business, famous for great food such as Strawberry Pie, Banana Cream Pie, and of course, the famous Big Burger
Located on the edge of Minnehaha Creek, right across the street from Minnehaha Falls, the Drive-In was a popular place for young and old alike. 
The Pearson's Drive-In closed in 1973 because the land was purchased by the Highway Department."

~Excerpts from Pearson's~

"I would go there for the best hot chocolate after skating at Longfellow Park."
~ Unknown author ~

"We would go to that restaurant after Canteen dances at Nokomis Jr. High."
"We would play the jukebox and drink cherry cokes."

~ Warren Allison, RHS '63 ~

"I mostly washed dishes but did car hop after midnight because it wasn't considered safe for the women to do it."
~ Gary Pavlo, RHS '58 ~

"In 1961, I was a busboy at Paul Pearson's Drive-In on Hiawatha.  Remember the big sign with the little boy dressed as an Indian? 
He now runs the Pearson's on 50th and France!  Unless he's retired."  (It was Marston's little brother, Paul Jr.)

~ JaRene Strand, RHS '64 ~


  
"The Paul Pearson sign was taken looking south along Hiawatha Avenue.  Right across Hiawatha from the Mobil station was the Longfellow house. 
Across from the Mobil station to the north was the Canteen.  The picture was taken about 1957 or '58, from what I can tell. 
The newest car in the picture is a 1957 or '58 Chevrolet parked across the street, so I think it's in that time frame."

"These photos were definitely taken prior to 1963", because according to Jack, the 75¢ 'Big Burger' was his favorite. 
The "Big Burger" costs only 60¢ on this menu stand in the above photo.  "I took my son over to Paul Pearson's in Edina to 'experience the Big Burger', but the cost today is $8.00 along with fries - but - get real!"

I asked more of Jack regarding the logistics of Paul Pearson's Drive-In
"Hiawatha Avenue ran north and south and the Minnehaha Parkway ran east and west.  Pearson's faced east with Hiawatha running in front. 
In the back, was the Minnehaha Creek.  Across Hiawatha from Pearson's was the Canteen and the Parkway Motel.  There was another street that ran parallel with the Parkway, beginning at Hiawatha Avenue.  This was Nawadaha Boulevard, and it ran along the south side of the Canteen across the railway tracks, eastward to Minnehaha Avenue where you will find the Dairy Queen."

"The Mobil station was on the southeast corner.  Before the Mobil station was built, there was Fish Jones' Animal Park.  He is the one who built Longfellow House, a very interesting person.  Longfellow House was on the southwest corner.  It has been moved (I think around 1985.) to the other side of Hiawatha Avenue to prepare for the Light Rail Transit system.  There was a time we used the house as a warming house as we skated on the Minnehaha Creek.
The menu stands were arranged in a shoehorn around the north side and the back of the building. 
On the south side of the building was the very narrow 'out' driveway, that butted up against (I think.) a Shell gas station."

~ Submitted by Jack Anderson '64, April 25, 2010 ~

 


~ Submitted by:  Marston Pearson, February 23, 2011 ~

          Our first Town Talk Cafe (July, 1938) was to the left of the Nile Theater, the large picture window.  (See "Theaters" page on this site.)  Mother and Dad started out selling nickel candy, ice cream and  donuts.  In those days the theaters didn't sell candy or popcorn.  My dad had the idea of selling popcorn and contracted with some guy to buy the very best popcorn in big 50# sacks.  The owner of the Nile theater had to sweep up all the empty boxes. He started counting how many boxes dad was selling and soon put in his own popcorn.  That didn't stop dad, the people would line up all down the block to buy ice cream so the theater owner who was also the landlord tried to raise the rent and dad moved out.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                     July, 1938


         
         ~ 2707 1/2 East Lake Street, 612-722-1312, 1946 ~
                                                 
                                                         ~ Front 2707 1/2 East Lake Street ~
                                                             
                                                                         ~ 60-year-old magazine article about the Town Talk ~
                                                                                               
                                                                                                                               ~ Counter at this location ~
                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                     ~ Number 2 or 3?, 1954 ~
          2707 1/2 East Lake Street - opened in 1946 - 2nd Town Talk Diner
         

"The baker woman holding the flat of strawberries in the magazine article, started working for us way back at the drive-in and was the baker at 50th and France. She never did tell me how many years she worked for us but I remember I was very young when she started.

We originally had a Dutch woman as a baker at the drive-in. She would not give us the recipe for the pancakes, job security or something. My mom went in after hours  stocked the bakery with all new packages of flour, etc.  The next day after the pancakes were made she somehow got the baker to leave for awhile and my mom then weighed out every ingredient and figured out the recipe.  That baker worked for us for many many years afterwards until her health deteriorated.  So many stories and thousands of employees and customers.  We used to employ over 85 people 20 years ago."
 

         
          3rd Town Talk Diner:
By that time mom and dad were selling sandwiches and hamburgers, a full diner menu.  He knew he had to own the business to have complete control.  He started a twin Town Talk Diner downtown on 7th and Hennepin.  It was actually two diners, one from 7th and one from Hennepin and they met in the middle of the building.  I can still remember it well as I used to help dad with the change counting in that basement as well, but I was only about 6 years old or so.  Dad sold it to his younger brother Carl and he changed the name to the Tick Tock.  Dad was opening the Drive-In and it was so very busy he had to spend all his time there."


Pearson's Drive-In
4734 Hiawatha Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grand Opening - 1955 - 4th restaurant

Grand Opening by daylight 1955 - 4th restaurant




"Al Swingley & Paul Pearson Sr., 1961 at diner counter of Pearson's Town Talk Drive-In & Diner.  My father, Paul Pearson sitting at the counter of the 21 stool diner that was in the front of the Drive-In on Hiawatha. The cook is Al Swingley who worked for us for over 40 years married, one of our waitresses, Dorothy and raised lots of kids, many who worked for us over the years.  Those were lots of fun days.  There was an intense rivalry between Highland Park and Roosevelt.  We used to employ several park police on the weekends."

"We made all the deserts, pies, rolls etc. at the Drive-In down on Hiawatha and Minnehaha Parkway."


Paul Pearson Sr
.
at Menu Stand of Pearson's Drive-In - 1955
 


         
          50th & France Avenue South - Closed February 7, 2011 - 5th restaurant
         

"John McCarty of St. Paul Development Corp is the one who bought our place at 50th and France.  It is now the 50th Street Cafe
I think they are only open 7am to 2 or 3 pm.  My son, Phil, is one of the managers there, so far he likes it but it is much different than Pearson's was.  They only operate the first coffee shop area.  They walled off the entrance and the window into the other two beautiful dining rooms with mirrors.  They replaced the booths down the middle up front and put in tables.  I told them that way they would be able to accommodate some parties.  It works out great.  People are really shocked when the walk in expecting to see my big dining rooms.  The rumor is that they will lease those two dining rooms to an Italian restaurant but I think they are planning on keeping the decor." 

Pearson's Edina Restaurant was constructed at its current location in 1973, initially as a coffee shop and expanding two years later to include the building's Oak Room.  The building was again expanded in 1981, when the Oak Room West was constructed.

         

~ ~ ~

         

My name is Marston Pearson.  My parents, Paul and Helen Pearson, started Pearson's Drive-In in 1955.  A friend sent me the link to your web site showing past Drive-Ins.  I see you need a picture of the Drive-In so I have attached one and also of our Town Talk Diner and our last restaurant, Pearson's Edina Restaurant.

         
My father passed away in 2005.  My mother is still going strong at 93.  I grew up in the Drive-In & Diner business.
 

We also had several Town Talk Diners in Minneapolis.  The most famous was the Town Talk at 2707 1/2 East Lake Street started in 1946.  It used to be an alley and dad was on the board of the Odd Fellows lodge that owned the buildings.  He convinced them to let him turn the alley into a diner.  It was so narrow that he had Palen Fixture Company custom make all the stainless steel equipment and the counter to be narrow so there was a bit more room for the customer side of the counter.  He had large marble tiles on the walls and perforated aluminum ceiling tiles that let the air conditioning through and could be easily washed.  There was a telephone booth that sat two people in the back.  We kids ate many a meal in that booth waiting for our parents to take us home.  The basement had real character.  It used to be huge oil tanks.  It was quite a cave down there after dad removed the tanks.  Dad had a big chest freezer, a wash sink and a very small table.  I would use the freezer top for my table and stand on a milk carton and would help count the cash drawers with him. 

We made all the deserts, pies, rolls etc. at the Drive-In down on Hiawatha and Minnehaha Parkway.  We had to deliver food to the Town Talk almost every day.

We had a big old safe in the back room in the diner and some burglars had the bright idea of stealing it.  They broke through the glass blocks next to the back door and used a tow truck.  They ran the tow cable in the back door, down the long hallway to the safe, tied the cable around the safe and jerked it out and down the alley.  The police found it down by the Mississippi River, pealed open.  The laugh was on the robbers though.  The night before, the manager on duty absolutely could not get that old safe open so she just left all the cash drawers under the counter out front.  The safe was EMPTY.  The money was just lying out in the open under the counter and was still there when we came down to investigate.

The Indian boy on the sign at the Drive-In was my little brother, Paul Jr.,  I was too skinny.  They dressed us both up in deer skin loin cloths, head dresses on our heads and stood us both on the dining room table at home and took lots of pictures.  Jr. was two years old and I was four.

My wife, Maureen, started at the drive-in as a car hop, no roller skates by this time, when she was 16 and we have been together ever since.  We just retired as we sold our Pearson's Edina Restaurant February 7th, 2011 at 50th and France Avenue South in Minneapolis.  We operated there for 38 years.  Time to retire and play with my grandkids."
         


~ Submitted by Marston Pearson, WHS '69, 2/23/11 ~

           

Porky's Drive-In
Dine in your car.

                             

 

Menu Favorites
Twin Burger Platters
Large onion ring on top of burgers
Onion rings for $1.09
Chicken in '71, maybe prior
Hot Fudge Brownies
Graham cracker crust pie
Chocolate Malts


Porky's "America Graffiti" Experience has Closed!

"Porky's, since 1953 offering the most "America Graffiti" of curbside experiences as the Twin Cities' signature drive-in restaurant, served its last burger and root beer float Sunday, April 3, 2011 and is on the verge of being sold."

"Porky's on University Avenue, has been a central meeting spot for car fans to gather and admire each other's favorite toy. 
Classic cars, muscle cars, customs and motorcycles can all be found cruising up and down the strip as well as the people who love them." 
The establishment was not losing money, it was just a business decision.  The Central Corridor light rail "is going to ruin the avenue,
and I'm sure there isn't going to be any parking", Nora Truelson said, adding that
"high taxes and disruption from the rail's construction were also factors". 





Photos submitted by James D. Goudy, RfldHS '58

Porky's restaurant is 58-year's old.  Nostalgia-laden items from a 1950s-era drive-in diner will be auctioned off.  The online-only auction began at 6 p.m. Monday, April 4, 2011 and concluded Wednesday night.


More photographs that hung on the wall inside the University Avenue Porky's

         

1)  Porky's on University Ave. one week before closing, 2011
2)  Lyndale Drive-In, 58th & Lyndale Ave. S, 1951
3)  Porky's Lyndale Drive-In (The Checker Board), 5751 Lyndale Ave. S, 1956
4)  Porky's on East Lake Street between 20th & 21st Aves. S
5)  Porky's, 3118 W. Lake St. 1961

Photos submitted by James Goudy, RfldHS '58


"The legendary Porky's drive-in restaurant first appeared in 1953 on University Avenue in St. Paul and was
followed by three more, two on East Lake Street and one on Lyndale Avenue South."  These photos are of the St. Paul location.
Porky's later became Nora's (named for Ray's wife) on East Lake Street between 20th and 21st Avenues South. "In 1990, Porky's on University Avenue
was re-opened without the car hops this time around, but the hotrods were back, and so were the twin burgers and skin-on fries." 
It is the only Porky's in the Twin Cities known to still be in business.

In 1953, Ray Truelson opened Porky's Drive-In on University Avenue in St. Paul,
after stints running a root beer stand and the Flat Top Drive-In, at 4604 East Lake Street, in south Minneapolis.
  As many of us remember, the signature item on the menu was a hamburger with an onion ring plopped on top of the bun. 
At the height of its popularity, Porky's boasted four local outposts.  Over the years the lure of drive-ins waned, and every Porky's location closed. 
In 1990, the original Porky's in St. Paul gloriously reopened.  Technically, it's no longer a drive-in because there is no carhop service. 
Many folks still eat on site, pulling their cars into a parking space after buzzing through the drive-thru window. 
On weekend evenings during the short, hot summer, the drive-in is a magnet for classic-car buffs
and serves as the center of the University Avenue cruising scene. 
Truelson died in 1994, but his legacy lives on. 
Honor his great works by ordering up a few of Porky's habit-forming cheeseburgers and a chocolate malt,
while sitting in your car under the watchful eye of a grinning neon pig.

~ More about Lake Street ~

A former car hop who worked at the Lake Street Porky's reports, "The black A-line skirt we wore had to be at or below our knees, no shorter!"
~ Jerilyn Miller Blom RHS '61 ~

"Many 'cruisers' would enter Porky's, stop to talk to someone, block traffic, and then leave without eating.  Porky's then started charging people to come into the parking lot, but gave credit on the food purchase so they didn't get jammed up with 'cruisers'."
 ~ Tom Watembach, SHS '63 & Carole Kortz, SHS '63 ~

 Tryg Truelson, the original owner's son has opened a trendy, but not so inexpensive restaurant at the Nora's location on
W. Lake Street. 
It is appropriately called, Tryg's.  I see he offers Porky's onion rings on the dinner menu for $6.50.  They were $1.09 back in our day.
~ Bryan Björnson RHS '70 ~




StarTribune Obituary, September 13, 1994
Submitted by James Goudy, RfldHS '58


If you look closely, you'll see a sign limiting parking to two hours - "2 HR. LIMIT PARKING"!

 



Ring King Drive-In
May be one and the same asWhitey and Al's

4001 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota???


~ photo and more information needed ~


Ring King Drive-In, a drive-in totally unfamiliar to me,
was located on the southeast corner across from Taylor's Pharmacy at
4001 Minnehaha Avenue.  Does anyone remember this eatery?  What memories do you have?  Any photos?
I am told it closed about 1964.


See also:  WHITEY AND AL'S DRIVE-IN

 

Sibley Field
1900 40th St. E
Minneapolis 7, Minnesota


~ photos and more information needed ~

      

Left:  This sledding hill is located at Sibley Park.    Right:  Winter is nearing an end and now we experience puddles and mud!  These photos were taken from 40th Street and 20th Avenue South, looking northwest.
 

  • Size: 7.96 acres
  • The purchase was completed in 1922 at a total cost of $23,441 for nearly eight acres of land.
  • Architect Clarence Brown was hired to design a field house for the park.
  • In addition to underestimating the cost to build the park, was the challenge of its topography.  Park superintendent Theodore Wirth wrote in his 1923 annual report that the "formerly unsightly low land" was brought to "attractive and serviceable" grades by using a steam shovel and horse teams to move 68,000 cubic yards of sandy soil.  The project was complicated, and more expensive than estimated, because all four corners of the park were at different grades.
  • Development of the park began in 1923.
  • By 1924 the playground was installed and a recreation shelter was completed in time to serve as a warming house for skating that winter.
  • Wirth noted that the tennis courts and walks remained to be done, but would be completed for the 1925 playground season.
  • Following World War II the park board greatly expanded recreation programming in parks and in 1946 chose Sibley as one of the only five parks in the city to offer year-round programs.
  • In 1969 the park board awarded contracts for a new $172,000 recreation center at the park.  The center and additional renovations to the playing fields and playgrounds, were completed in 1971.
  • The most recent improvements to the park were made in 1994.

Remember Sibley Field?

               
What do you recall about your experiences at Sibley?  Let's list them here.
               
1.
2.
3,
 
 
 
 

Sibley Field Link
 





 

Ä Click to View MORE Drive-Ins & Haunts




If you have drive-in or eatery memorabilia you would like to see appear here, please email the webmaster.

 

Return to Top of Page                                    Email: Webmaster                        Last updated:  09/21/2014

    

NEXT PAGE

Home   70th Birthday   50th Reunion   45th Reunion   40th Reunion   60th Birthday   Album   Bancroft   Cheerleaders   Committees   Cooper   Corcoran   Drive-Ins   Drive-Ins2   Drive-Ins3   Drive-Ins5   Ericsson  
Faculty   Feedback   Folwell   Guest Book   Hiawatha   History   Hit Songs   Homecoming   Howe   In Memoriam   Keewaydin   Links   Longfellow   Minnehaha   Morris Park   News   Nokomis   Northrop  
Nostalgia   Pancake Breakfasts   Rockettes   Saint Helena   Saint Kevin   Sanford   Schools   Sports   Standish   Theaters   Unable to Locate   Update Form   Vehicles   Wenonah  WSD/May Day/More    The End