Grumpy Old Men Filming Locations
A Photo Tour Of ‘Grumpy Old Men’
John Gustafson and Max Goldman, next door neighbors in the sleepy river
town of Wabasha, have been fighting for 50 years, but their feud takes on a
new dimension when Ariel Truax moves in across the street. While
‘Grumpy Old Men’ was the sleeper hit of 1993, many folks here in
Minnesota saw it as a documentary where the Gopher state was the true star of
the film. This photo tour takes us to the filming locations for this movie
and its sequel, ‘Grumpier Old Men.’
Note—click on each photo to see the full size image.
This is the city sign for Wabasha, Minnesota, located just outside of the
city along highway US-61, the Great River Road that runs through the state
along the Mississippi River. The sign was modified in the late 1990s to
include the reference to the film ‘Grumpy Old Men’. While the city is featured
in the movie, and Wabasha is very proud of its part in the two movies, as
far as I can tell, no scenes from either movie were actually filmed in
Location: Northeast corner of the intersection of highways US-61 and MN-60 on the grounds of the AmericInn Lodge & Suites in Wabasha, MN.
While the opening scenes of ‘Grumpy Old Men’ includes the Wabasha railroad
depot, the old Milwaukee Road depot in Wabasha did not survive into the 1990s.
The Rock Island depot in Faribault was used, dressed up with a Wabasha sign.
This depot has been restored and currently hosts an excellent bar and grille.
The sign in front of the depot features a carved relief of the Twin Star
Rocket, an art deco era streamline train that once operated through Faribault
on its Minneapolis to Dallas run. The train was powered by a 2,000 horsepower
E6 diesel electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division
in the 1939 to 1942 era.
Location: Depot Bar and Grille, 311 Heritage Place, Faribault, MN, near the intersection of 1st Avenue and 3rd Street.
This is Max Goldman's home. Max was played by actor Walter Matthau. The
Goldman house is located in the Lake Phalen area of Saint Paul near the
intersection of Hyacinth Avenue East and North Frank Street.
Location: 1137 Hyacinth Avenue East, Saint Paul, MN.
Right next door to the west is John Gustafson's home. John, the younger
Gustafson, was played by actor Jack Lemmon, while the senior Gustafson,
known as Grandpa or Pops, was played by Burgess Meredith. Meredith was
suffering from Alzheimer's during the filming of the second movie. He
required a lot of coaching to perform his part, but despite the disease,
he turned in a very memorable performance.
Location: 1133 Hyacinth Avenue East, Saint Paul, MN.
Ariel Truax's home is located across the street from the Goldman home occupying
a large corner lot at the intersection of Hyacinth Avenue and Frank Street.
Ariel was played by actress Ann-Margret. As is the case with the other two
houses, this house was only used for exterior shots.
Location: 1122 Hyacinth Avenue East, Saint Paul, MN.
Many of the exterior shots at the homes were done on location along Hyacinth
Avenue. In this view, we are looking east along the south side of Hyacinth.
The vantage point is the corner of Hyacinth Avenue and Frank Street. The
Gustafson and Goldman houses are next door to each other behind the two
blue cars. Ariel's house is to the right of the photo. This small hill is
where Ariel was seen driving a snowmobile shortly after she moved into her
home in Wabasha.
Location: Hyacinth Avenue East and North Frank Street, Saint Paul, MN.
The interior shots of the homes were filmed on a sound stage. For the first movie, that was done at Paisley Park, the sound stage and studio complex built and owned by Prince. Prince stopped renting out the studio in 1996, so it wasn't available for the filming of ‘Grumpier Old Men’. The only other feature length movie credited to Paisely Park by IMDB is Drop Dead Fred.
Location: Paisley Park Studios, 7801 Audubon Road, Chanhassen, MN.
The second movie was filmed at Energy Park Studios. Energy Park Studios
was founded in 1994 in the Como Park neighborhood near the Minnesota State
Fairgrounds. Several movies were filmed there including Drop Dead Gorgeous,
Jingle All The Way, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. The building has been
occupied since 2006 by the Hmong College Prep Academy.
Location: Hmong College Prep Academy, 1515 Brewster Street, Saint Paul, MN.
The fishing scenes in the first movie were filmed at Lake Rebecca near
Rockford, located northwest of the metro area. The top photo is the park
entrance sign. Lake Rebecca Park Reserve is part of the Three Rivers Park
District, which is a special park system in the west metro area that crosses
county lines. Its name comes from the three rivers that flow through the
district, the Crow, Minnesota, and Mississippi,
The second photo shows the back water area near the boat ramp. In the movie, this is where Catfish Hunter lived, but here at Lake Rebecca, there are no catfish to be found.
The third photo shows the boat ramp where Max and John launched their boats, and where folks drove out to the ice fishing village. The L-shaped dock no longer exists, and a new T-shaped fishing deck has been installed on the north side of the lagoon. The ice fishing village was modeled after the winter villages that spring up on Lake Mille Lacs.
The fourth photo is Chuck's Bait Shop, located in the boat ramp area. The parking area has been improved since the movie was filmed, with new pavement and curb and gutter. The building is used for a boat rental concession in the summer months. Note that the trash cans have been moved away from the roadway to keep other grumpy old men from running them over.
Location: Lake Rebecca Park Reserve, 9831 Rebecca Park Trail, Rockford, MN.
In the second movie, the bait shop, er, Ristorante, was located on
private property on Bass Lake
in northern Washington County, just northwest of Stillwater. A building
shell was built on-site for exterior shots, but the interior was filmed on
a sound stage. The upper photo is looking east across Bass Lake. The filming
location likely was on the left side of the photo. There are a few views of
John or Max leaving the boat landing in a vehicle. In those views, there is
a barn visible at the top of the hill. I believe that the barn in the second
photo is that structure. In this view, we are looking south towards the lake
into the bright midday sun.
Location: Bass Lake, 150th Street, Washington County, MN.
John and Max were frequent customers at Slippery's, a neighborhood bar near
their homes in Wabasha. The real Slippery's is located on the Mississippi
River waterfront just upstream from the Wabasha Bridge. The bar and grill
has a display of movie memorabilia, they play the two movies every day, and
they sponsor an annual Grumpy Old Men festival. However, the real Slipperys
was not included in either movie—locations in the Twin Cities were used
Location: Slippery's, 10 Church Avenue, Wabasha, MN.
The bar scene in ‘Grumpy Old Men’ was filmed at Half Time Rec, an Irish bar
and game center located in the Como Park area of Saint Paul.
Location: Half Time Rec, 1013 Front Avenue, Saint Paul, MN.
In ‘Grumpier Old Men’, the exterior of Slippery's bar was filmed at the 331 Club
in Northeast Minneapolis.
Location: 331 Club, 331 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN.
The interior bar scene in the sequel was filmed two blocks away at Mayslack's.
In the scene were Sophia Loren walks into the bar wearing a red dress, the
bartender whose jaw is seen to drop is the owner of Mayslack's.
Location: Mayslack's, 1428 4th Street NE, Minneapolis, MN.
The snow angel scene in the first movie, featuring John and Ariel, was filmed
at Soldiers Memorial Park in Red Wing. The park is located on top of a tall
bluff on the east end of town. The first photo is the entry gate to the park.
The park is dedicated to soldiers and sailors from all wars, but special
dedication is to the sailors who lost their lives when the USS Maine exploded
in Cuba sparking the Spanish-American War. The gun guarding the gate is a
World War II M8 75 mm howitzer pack gun used by airborne troops. It was
manufactured by the J.G. Brill company, the largest manufacture of street
cars in the first half of the 20th century.
The second photo is the field at the top of the bluff where John and Ariel were riding snowmobile. During the summer, this is a disc golf course.
At the start of the snow angel scene, John and Ariel are looking out over the city marveling at the view. Ariel says that it is Wabasha, but in reality, it was Red Wing, another Mississippi River city located half way between Wabasha and Saint Paul. The vantage point was the overlook at the west end of the park.
Location: Soldiers Memorial Park, East 7th Street, Red Wing, MN.
The wedding scene in the first movie was filmed at a historic church in
Center City, located in the Chisago Lakes area north of Saint Paul. The first
congregation of Swedish Lutherans organized in 1854. They built a wooden
church in 1856, then erected a large brick church in 1882. The brick church
burned in 1888, and the present building was built in 1889.
Location: Chisago Lake Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1 Summit Avenue, Center City, MN.
The wedding scene in the second movie was filmed at the Christ Lutheran
Church in Marine on Saint Croix. Marine on Saint Croix is a historic milling
city on the Saint Croix River located north of Stillwater. The sign indicates
that the church was established in 1872, which is when the congregation
formed, not when the building was built.
Location: Christ Lutheran Church, 150 Fifth Street, Marine on Saint Croix, MN.
The drug store scenes were filmed at the Poirier Pharmacy in downtown
Faribault. At the time, this was still an old style drug store and
soda fountain. While it had been open for over 80 years when the movie was
filmed, it did not survive into the new millennium. The site was occupied
by Grumpy's Antiques for about a decade, and most recently, Pawn Stars MN.
A newspaper article indicates that there wasn't enough snow to film a
Christmas scene at the store, so snow had to be trucked in.
Location: Pawn Stars MN, 230 Central Avenue, Faribault, MN.
One of my favorite scenes in the second movie is the grocery store scene,
especially when the senior Gustafson seems to know all the right moves.
This was filmed at Cooper's Supervalu in Saint Paul. This neighborhood
grocery store is exactly the type of down home store that one would expect
in a 1960s era Wabasha. This isn't the only time Coopers hit the big screen,
it was also used by the Coen brothers in A Serious Man.
Location: Cooper's Supervalu, 633 W. 7th Street, Saint Paul, MN.
There is a scene where John posed nude for one of Ariel's sculpture projects,
which Max secretly videotaped through the side window of his home. Later,
Max played this tape on a department store VCR, sending the image to dozens of
TVs on display. While the store patrons got a good laugh out of the prank,
John was both horrified and livid. This prank was filmed at the Sears
store on Rice Street, located just west of the Minnesota State Capitol
building in Saint Paul.
Location: Sears, Roebuck and Company, 425 Rice Street, Saint Paul, MN.
Towards the end of the first movie, John Gustafson suffered a heart attack
while walking home from Slippery's Bar. He was taken to a hospital to recover.
While recovering, he and Ariel rekindled their relationship, which eventually
led to them getting married. That hospital is the Divine Redeemer Memorial
Hospital in South Saint Paul. This 130 bed hospital has since closed, but the
building continues to operate as the Cerenity Care Center, a nursing home with
just over 100 residents.
Location: Cerenity Care Center, 724 19th Avenue North, South Saint Paul, MN.
In the second movie, Melanie (played by Daryl Hannah) and Jake (Kevin Pollak)
are visiting an Oktoberfest celebration when they get into a serious argument.
The famous Midwest Oktoberfest is held in La Crosse, Wisconsin, 50 miles down
river from Wabasha. Many other communities have smaller local Oktoberfest
celebrations. This version of Oktoberfest was staged along the waterfront
in Stillwater for the movie. In this photo, we see one of the riverfront
park structures with the Stillwater Bridge in the background, similar to the
views seen in the movie.
Location: Lowell Park, Stillwater, MN.
In the second movie, Jake and Melanie visit a bakery to review the wedding
cake that their fathers selected. Both are dismayed when they learn that it
will have a fishing theme. This scene was filmed at Tschida's Bakery on
Rice Street in Saint Paul. Tschida's has been THE bakery in Saint Paul
since the 1930s.
Location: Tschida's Bakery, 1116 Rice Street, Saint Paul, MN.
After John's cat soiled Max's newspaper yet again, Max goes to the dog pound
to adopt a dog. The dog ends up chasing Slick, John's cat, nearly
destroying the Gustafson home in the process. The dog pound scene was filmed
at the Saint Croix Animal Shelter in Afton. The shelter was located on
40th Street, but since it is now a private home, I will not give the exact
address. The shelter in Afton merged with a shelter in Woodbury, and the
Afton location was closed. The photo here is the Woodbury location, now
known as the Humane Society Adoption Center. One of the Peanuts On Parade
statues is on display in front of the building on the day of my visit.
Location: Humane Society Adoption Center, 9785 Hudson Road, Woodbury, MN.
While traveling to the wedding near the end of ‘Grumpier Old Men’, Max and John
come across Sven walking along a dirt road. Sven is in a daze after having
fought with and lost Catfish Hunter. While I have not conclusively pinpointed
where that was filmed, I suspect that this scene may have been filmed on
150th Street on the north side of Bass Lake. If not, then this location is
typical of rural dirt roads that can still be found in the less developed
areas of Washington County northwest of Stillwater.
Location: 150th Street, Washington County, MN.
As Max and John near the church at towards the end of ‘Grumpier Old Men’, they
pass through a small town. An Amaco gas station is visible with a distinctive
older style advertising sign. That gas station is the current day Marine
Garage in Marine on St. Croix. The view in the movie was looking south
along Judd Street with the service station in the back of the scene. This
photo is looking north, with the service station in the foreground. The
station has been remodeled since the movie was filmed, and the Amoco sign
has been removed.
Location: Marine Garage, 180 Judd Street, Marine on St. Croix, MN.
Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2015, all rights reserved.
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