The Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MInnesota

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The Parkway Theater

The Parkway Theater - 2004
The Parkway Theater - 2008
Address: 4814 Chicago Avenue S
Neighborhood/s: Field Regina Northrup, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1930-31
Primary Style: Art Deco/Art Moderne
Major Alterations: Some/mostly intact
Historic Function: Theater/concert hall
Current Function: Theater/concert hall
Current Function: Event Center
Other Current Function: Event Center
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Concrete
Material of Roof: Shingle
Material of Foundation: Concrete

Field Regina Northrup Minneapolis Hennepin County

The Parkway Theater opened for business in February 1931 owned and operated by the Wolski family. Mel Lebowitz obtained the theater in the 1940s and has been operating as a neighborhood cinema ever since.

For the last four decades the Parkway theater was owned and run by Bill Irvine who took the reins in 1972 and brought it back from the clutches of an adult film venue and turned the Parkway into one of the finest independent and offbeat film venues in the Midwest.

In 2006 ownership was taken over by William and Susan Senkyr, owners of Pepitos Mexican Restaurant in the adjoining building. A common walkway was reopened and the theater in funtion became part of Pepitos.

Renovation and restoration began in 2006 and continues today.



Original blueprints, obtained from the University of Minnesota in 2006, show an unclear vision of what the builders were trying to accomplish. The drawings included an orchestra pit, a second floor dentist office and doctors office with a shared waiting room located in the open lobby atrium. None of which was built.

Although originally designed with a Spanish Mediterranean exterior for reasons unknown to us it was erected with a deco modern facade which was revealed in the summer of 2006 when the metal facing covering it installed in the 1950's was removed. We can only conclude that the change to a Deco modern exterior was either budgetary with the onset of the depression or simply a following of the deco modern design movement. We think the former given that the same design team designed and built two apartment buildings 1/2 block south of the theater at 4830 and 4834 Chicago, in the Spanish Mediterranean style that was originally proposed for the theater.

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The Parkway Theater


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