Porky’s Drive-In (Saint Paul)

On the ever-changing and evolving University Avenue, Porky’s Drive-In restaurant sits virtually unchanged as a reminder of the Twin Cities’ past. The checkerboard painted eatery, with its large neon sign, was a kind of roadside attraction and offered motorists a place to meet, relax, and be served American fare in the 1950s and 60s. Drive-ins began disappearing in the 70s, but Porky’s was one of only two to escape demolition in Minnesota. Although Porky’s closed once before, the property was fortunate enough to be saved and reopened in the 1990s for its original function. In the past few days, numerous Twin Cities media outlets have covered the impending demolition and sale of Porky’s to Episcopal Homes, a developer of senior housing next door.

The Minnesota Street Rod Association has shown great concern for the property, as they feel it plays a key role in Minnesota “car culture”. With no clear solution to save the structure, they only ask that the residents of St. Paul “embrace, rather than erase Porky’s”.

Destruction of this property is imminent – please act to show your support now!

You can call or write the members of the Saint Paul City Council:

Melvin Carter III, Ward 1
ward1@ci.stpaul.mn.us
(651) 266-8610

Dave Thune, Ward 2
ward2@ci.stpaul.mn.us
(651) 266-8620

Pat Harris, Ward 3
ward3@ci.stpaul.mn.us
(651) 266-8630

Russ Stark, Ward 4***
ward4@ci.stpaul.mn.us
(651) 266-8640

Lee Helgen, Ward 5
ward5@ci.stpaul.mn.us

(651) 266-8650

Dan Bostrom, Ward 6
ward6@ci.stpaul.mn.us
(651) 266-8660

Kathy Lantry, Ward 7
ward7@ci.stpaul.mn.us
(651) 266-8670

***Porky’s is located in Ward 4

Below you will find a template email/letter, please use as much or as little of this as you like, personalize it, talk about your affinity for Porky’s. Now is the time to step up to save Porky’s.

P.S. Make sure you sign your name at the bottom.

Councilmember,

I am writing in support of preserving Porky’s Drive-In on University Avenue in Saint Paul. There are alternatives that have yet to be considered, demolition is an irreversible course and one that would not help the future of Saint Paul. Porky’s, which was built in 1953, has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. It is a landmark to generations of Saint Paul residents and Minnesotans as a whole.

There are many who hoped to work with the present and prospective owners to find alternatives to demolition. Members of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission and Minnesota Street Rod Association were also interested in exploring options, such as establishing a Transfer of Development Rights or moving the drive-in to another suitable location.

The loss of Porky’s would be a shame for historic preservation in the Twin Cities.  However, it would be sadder still, if demolition does occur, and the new owners were unable to build anything on the site that required federal support, thus leaving another vacant lot on University Avenue in Saint Paul.

I sincerely thank you for your time in considering my thoughts. Please work to ensure that the history of Saint Paul can be preserved. We owe it to future generations to be good stewards of the past.

Sincerely,

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