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Curtains up on the Cottage View Drive-In

Cottage Grove's classic Cottage View Drive-In theater is set to open for the season Friday. It is one of only six drive-in theaters left in Minnesota.

The Cottage View Drive-In has been called a significant piece of cultural history. Its also been called a nice spot for a mall.

On Friday, for the 44th year in a row, you can call it open for business.

The old drive-in theater will screen its first double feature of the season starting at dusk Friday night as a recession-hit commercial real estate market continues scaring off developers who coveted the site as recently as 2008.

Owned by Columbia Heights-based Herringer Companies and run by Mann Theatres, the theater -- one of only six drive-ins left in the state -- opened for business in 1966, its red, roadside sign a symbol of summer for generations of Cottage Grovers.

Twice in the last half-decade, plans for developing the site -- including an outdoor mall proposed in 2007 -- fell through. Because of that, the Cottage View was mentioned late-last year at a Minneapolis gathering of the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a piece of mid-century American architecture worth saving.

So, for another season, the iconic red sign still stands in south Cottage Grove. A night at the movies isn't as cheap as it used to be -- adult tickets are now $8, children as old as 12 are $1, still less expensive than a trip indoors for a flick.

But, for another season, the Cottage View experience remains much the same as it was in the 1960s: blankets and bug spray, stars in the sky and stars on the screen.

Cottage View Drive-In

9338 East Point Douglas Rd., Cottage Grove

(651) 458-5965