Roseville Mayor Robert Taylor and Fred Goldberg, whose family founded and owned the Gratiot Drive In, inspect the new LED message board modeled after the drive-in’s landmark sign as it was dedicated in honor of the city’s 60th anniversary Dec. 18.

Roseville Mayor Robert Taylor and Fred Goldberg, whose family founded and owned the Gratiot Drive In, inspect the new LED message board modeled after the drive-in’s landmark sign as it was dedicated in honor of the city’s 60th anniversary Dec. 18.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Roseville celebrates 60th anniversary with message board dedication

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 19, 2018

 Fred Goldberg, whose family owned the Gratiot Drive In, was on hand Dec. 18 at the dedication for the city’s new LED message board, which was placed on Gratiot Avenue and is modeled after the drive-in’s iconic sign.

Fred Goldberg, whose family owned the Gratiot Drive In, was on hand Dec. 18 at the dedication for the city’s new LED message board, which was placed on Gratiot Avenue and is modeled after the drive-in’s iconic sign.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROSEVILLE — Roseville is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a permanent reminder of a former landmark, the Gratiot Drive In, and some of those with fond memories of the drive-in were on hand for a dedication ceremony Dec. 18.

“It’s an important milestone for the city,” City Manager Scott Adkins said of the anniversary. “Anytime you can celebrate a signature anniversary in economic times like these is a good sign. … We’re celebrating the past and looking forward to the future.”

The 60th anniversary — Roseville was incorporated into a village in 1926 and became a city in 1958 — was celebrated Dec. 18 with the dedication of the city’s new LED message board, which had been installed Dec. 14 on Gratiot Avenue. The message board was modeled after the iconic sign of the Gratiot Drive In, which stood until 1984.

“We were looking at different options for signs and the price kept going up, but all we would be getting was a boring sign,” Adkins said. “We starting asking about other options and said, ‘What about something specific to Roseville?’”

The drive-in sign was 115 feet tall and featured a working fountain designed to look like a waterfall. When the drive-in was shut down in 1984, the sign was torn down. Now, the memorable Roseville icon is being brought back to life in the middle of Gratiot Avenue near Common Road.

Not only was the city able to install a sign that was more memorable, but through a series of grants and the insurance money from the previous sign, which an automobile crash destroyed, it was able to get the sign without cost to taxpayers.

Among those who attended the dedication was Fred Goldberg, whose family built and owned the Gratiot Drive In.

“It’s very flattering,” said Goldberg. “Roseville was always a good place to do business. … It’s terrific and was very kind of them to honor us in this way.”

Goldberg’s father, uncle and grandfather built the theater in 1948, and Goldberg and his brother took it over decades later.

He said his family wanted to make the sign unique to draw people in and make their drive-in stand out.

“They wanted to draw people’s attention because it’s show business,” Goldberg said. “They wanted to convince people to come in, and I think it worked; everyone remembers the sign.”

Many Roseville natives remember the drive-in with fondness.

“They would have a playground up front by the screen, and you would go get your snacks, and then when you would hear the movie starting up, you would get the kids from the playground and run back to the car,” recalled Roseville Mayor Robert Taylor. “We would all pile into the car, and on more than one occasion, we would sneak people in in the trunk since they charged you at the gate by how many people were in the car.”

Taylor said the sign is a great way to celebrate Roseville’s 60th birthday and highlights what he loves about Roseville.

“I think this is a wonderful way to celebrate 60 years,” said Taylor. “We have a lot of family tradition in Roseville, and this exemplifies that. … I think the sign shows off what this city is all about: family and heritage.”

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