Towering Above Wabasha

Joseph Friedman already owned several small St. Paul movie houses when he opened the Tower Theatre 1921. The building designed by architectural firm of Toltz, King and Day, is remembered for an elegant facade and patterned brickwork. Inside a small marble lobby gave way to an enormous 1,100 seat auditorium containing a balcony, orchestra pit, and Barton Pipe Organ. Five years after it opened Friedman leased the Tower to the Finkelstein & Rubin theatre chain.

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In 1929, the Paramount Pictures chain, Publix took over Finklestien and Rubin. Publix ran the Tower until the company went into receivership during the depression. In 1933 Friedman took over and did a little remodeling while Publix and Paramount got sorted out in bankruptcy court. In the late 1930’s the Tower began showing double features. After the war the theatre became a triple bill B-grade horror or sci-fi destination. In 1959, the Tower Theatre was closed and demolished to make way for a parking ramp.