Last Sunday, WCCO-TV ran a profile of Minnesota’s oldest Dairy Queen. While much of the piece focused on the building’s unique architecture and history, it also pointed out that current ownership is weighing a plan to replace the historic structure. Fortunately, PAM’s Erin Hanafin Berg was there to advocate a collective solution and, ultimately, the preservation of the summertime staple for generations to come.
Click to watch the video from the television segment, and read the accompanying story below!
ROSEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — Stepping inside the state’s oldest Dairy Queen is much like entering a time warp.
It is an oddly-shaped little building on Lexington Avenue in Roseville, with walk-up windows that first opened in 1947.
And not only is it still standing in its original form, it’s still open and serving up the same sweet treats.
John DeCrans bought the franchise six years ago after leaving the corporate world.
“I have enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoy the products, I enjoy the people,” said DeCrans. “There is nothing better than a customer coming up and purchasing something and you are handing it out the window and they are jumping up and down.”
The roughly 800-square-foot building is essentially the same as it was 65 years ago, with long slanted glass windows on all four sides and the sign on the roof with the big cone.
A black and white photo from the 1950s shows that while the building hasn’t changed, its surroundings have.
This DQ clearly has some unique features that make it cool to check out from the outside.
But on the inside, the space is really tight.
Two years ago, word got out that the owner of the building and the strip mall it sits in was looking into making some changes to the historic DQ – perhaps even replacing it with a more modern Grill ‘N Chill.
That caused Preservation Alliance of Minnesota to place the building its “2010 Most Endangered List.”
DeCrans adds, “It would be nice to have something and it was looked at by the owner of the property, so that we would be able to be open year-round. And we would have access to a drive-thru, a little walk-in area. It would be a lot more convenient. More up to date.”
John says he’s not sure if the property owner is still interested in expanding or replacing the building.
It would cost a lot money and there’s limited space to add anything.
Erin Hanafin Berg, a field representative with Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, weighed in on the situation.
“There is a lot of fondness in the community for this,” said Berg. “I think actually through the entire metro community. It has characteristics of the 1940s that people admire and appreciate.”
Berg says the staff at Preservation Alliance is hoping they can work with the property owners to come up with a plan that they all agree on, should they decide to make changes.