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Old drive-in theater sites

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I'm reviving a small project I started a couple years ago - it involves visiting the old sites of drive-in theaters (a smaller part of a larger building footprint-related project).

There are some threads that list names and addresses here and there, but I was hoping to aggregate them here.

For the ones that are still on vacant land it's kind of like the Addicks mystery markings where on the ground there sometimes isn't much to see, but I am also interested in visiting developed areas just for a now-and-then picture.

I have also been using the historicaerials.com site to get older aerials which has been interesting.

The ones I originally visited were:

-Telephone Twin (Telephone Rd. near the south beltway)

-Epsom Downs (near Jensen and Tidwell)

-Town and Country (4716 Red Bluff, Pasadena)

-Red Bluff (Pasadena)

The next one to go to is the King Center at 610 and MLK.

Can anyone recommend any others? And does anyone know the address of the Red Bluff Drive-in? I think I went there (?) but I'm getting things confused with the Town and Country...

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I recommend...

The Gulfway, opened in yr. 1960, off S. Shaver, near Gulf Frwy, at 9025 Wald Rd. Was right before Old Galveston Rd.

The Pasadena Drive-In, opened in 1949, at 2221 S. Shaver. (I especially remember this one, it was across from a Hancocks fabric store my mom used to visit, also close to a small amusement park with a fun house, kiddie ferris wheel, other rides). I remember the three colored blocks in it's logo, think they were red, yellow, and blue. The land later became a trailer park. Also remember an older trailer park right by it in the late 60's, early 70's.

The names, addresses, and yrs. above are from the book Cinema Houston.

P.S. Just checked it out, the amusement park may be located just north of the trailer park, was a narrow but deep slightly wooded lot, fun house was to the left, ferris wheel to the right. Land has small circles, too.

Edited by NenaE

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Shepherd Drive-In, which was on the site at 6004 N. Shepherd now occupied by Reddy Ice (just north of where W. Montgomery crosses N. Shepherd).

Airline Drive-In at 4507 Airline - looks like there are several businesses (a motel, a doctor's office, and another building that looks residential) on this site now, judging from the street view on Google Maps. There's a very nice color picture of the drive-in on Cinema Houston's drive-in page.

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Thanks for the ideas/addresses so far.

It looks like the Gulfway is now a small subdivision, and the Pasadena is a trailer park.

Others I have recently looked up are mostly developed:

-Tidwell (subdivision)

-Post Oak (Awty school?)

-McLendon triple (RV park/lake)

-Irvington (warehouse)

-Winkler (Home Depot)

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Here is one for the South Main Drive-In from an old post of yours, sevfiv. If you try to locate on the Houston Aerials or Google websites, use "Main" instead of "South Main" in the address. Using South Main puts you too far north, for some reason.

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I'm reviving a small project I started a couple years ago - it involves visiting the old sites of drive-in theaters (a smaller part of a larger building footprint-related project). There are some threads that list names and addresses here and there, but I was hoping to aggregate them here. For the ones that are still on vacant land it's kind of like the Addicks mystery markings where on the ground there sometimes isn't much to see, but I am also interested in visiting developed areas just for a now-and-then picture. I have also been using the historicaerials.com site to get older aerials which has been interesting. The ones I originally visited were: -Telephone Twin (Telephone Rd. near the south beltway) -Epsom Downs (near Jensen and Tidwell) -Town and Country (4716 Red Bluff, Pasadena) -Red Bluff (Pasadena) The next one to go to is the King Center at 610 and MLK. Can anyone recommend any others? And does anyone know the address of the Red Bluff Drive-in? I think I went there (?) but I'm getting things confused with the Town and Country...

The Red Bluff was at the corner of Hwy 225 and Red Bluff Rd in Pasadena, on the south side of 225. A very long time ago there was also the Eagle Drive In on Red Bluff Rd way out near Spencer Hwy. I think the Eagle became the Town and Country. A lot of the old Red Bluff is still in evidence, but I don't there's anything left of the Town and Country.

I have found some remarkable aerial photos of Houston's freeways that show the old Post Oak Drive-in and the old King Center Twin Drive-ins. The Post Oak was where Hidalgo now runs from Post Oak over to Bering. The King Center was on South Park Blvd (now MLK) at Holmes Road. Here's a link to the Loops Chapter in a remarkable E-Book on the development of Houston's freeways.

http://www.oscarmail.net/houstonfreeways/e...272-321_150.pdf

Scroll down through some truly remarkable photos. It's a big chapter with a lot of big pictures, so it'll take about a minute to download with a DSL. Be patient. It's worth the wait. BTW: you'll also see an incredible photo of that ammonia tank truck explosion on the west loop in May of 1976, taken only moments after it happened.

Edited by FilioScotia

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I was getting confused about the Post Oak drive-in, but now I know why (thanks to Cinema Houston via Google books)..

The Post Oak I was at 2900 (S.) Post Oak (Hidalgo) and Post Oak II was at 1255 N. Post Oak (Awty school area).

And 57Tbird - thanks for the heads up...I completely forgot about posting those!

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I was getting confused about the Post Oak drive-in, but now I know why (thanks to Cinema Houston via Google books)..

The Post Oak I was at 2900 (S.) Post Oak (Hidalgo) and Post Oak II was at 1255 N. Post Oak (Awty school area). And 57Tbird - thanks for the heads up...I completely forgot about posting those!

I now have a firm fix on where the old Eagle Drive-in was in Pasadena. In the 1957 view of Pasadena on Historicaerials dot com, I found the Eagle on Red Bluff Road. In that old photo, it was on Red Bluff about halfway between Southmore and Spencer Highway. You will note a near total absence of residences and other streets. It was out in the country then.

I couldn't believe my eyes, but in the most recent photo of that same spot -- 2004 -- you can still see the unmistakeable outline and topography of a drive-in theater behind a building that's now almost at the intersection of Red Bluff and the East Sam Houston Tollway.

When I and my buddies went to the Eagle in the late 50s, Red Bluff was a badly pot-holed two lane asphalt road. Lordy how that has changed.

Edited by FilioScotia

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The Sharpstown Drive Inn was at the Nothwest corner of Bellaire and Hillcroft. Now a shopping center. Originally across from Globe on the Northeast corner of Bellaire and Hillcroft. Remembering, as did sevfiv, that the original Post Oak Drive Inn was just north and next to the Channel 2 studio on Post Oak.

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There was a drive-in at Airport and Cullen. I think it was called the Chocolate Bayou Drive-In? Recent maps show the layout to still be there in the SW quadrant of the intersection, though covered by overgrowth.

There was also another drive-in on Ardmore at Yellowstone. Looks like 288 took that one out, as it extended along Yellowstone from Ardmore to where the present day NB feeder road of 288 is located today.

Edited by JLWM8609

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The old Decker Drive In was located at Decker Dr. (now Spur 330) and Market Street loop in Baytown. Check this aerial shot and you can still make out the old parking lot: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Bayway+Drive+at+spur+330+Baytown,+Texas&ie=UTF8&ll=29.784893,-95.034142&spn=0.005233,0.00824&t=h&z=17

It closed about 1980 or so. Someone turned it into a used trailer lot but it is being cleaned up right now. Likely will be redevloped as an apartment complex before long.

Edited by Retama

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There was also another drive-in on Ardmore at Yellowstone. Looks like 288 took that one out, as it extended along Yellowstone from Ardmore to where the present day NB feeder road of 288 is located today.

I'm almost certain you're thinking about the Trail Drive-in, which was on Old Spanish Trail on the other side of 288 from Yellowstone and Ardmore. In fact it was on the same property now occupied by the County Health Department's Mosquito Control Division. That's the only spot where something as big as a Drive In could have been.

Zoom in with Google Earth to look at the big lot that's right up against the east side of 288 at OST. You can still make out very faint traces of curved parking rows of what was once a drive in theater.

And I really need to get out more. I just looked at the intersection of Red Bluff Rd and hwy 225 in Pasadena and I could find no trace of the old Red Bluff Drive In. None. Nada. That property is now a large equipment lot for some big heavy equipment company.

Edited by FilioScotia

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Check out the Bayou Drive-In in La Marque on the Gulf Freeway between FM 1765 and Delaney Rd. It was located on the east side of the feeder, and is still visible from the freeway and of course google earth.

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Check out the Bayou Drive-In in La Marque on the Gulf Freeway between FM 1765 and Delaney Rd. It was located on the east side of the feeder, and is still visible from the freeway and of course google earth.

I highly recommend looking at the drive-ins in the historic aerials site, as well. The comparison feature is awesome, and user friendly. With all the years to select from, you can see when development started, or changed, in many of them.

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Thanks to all for the suggestions - there are quite a few more than I thought (and even more than that, no doubt).

NenaE - I have been cross-referencing with the historic aerials site and it is very interesting, especially since many of the sites are now developed in to something else...

The only one I know of that has (had?) anything intact is the Epsom Downs (though that was a couple years ago - it could be gone now).

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The I-45 North drive-in was at the intersection of 45 North and West Rd. There is now a Fry's and mixed retail on that site...can't even tell there was a drive-in there before.

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The I-45 North drive-in was at the intersection of 45 North and West Rd. There is now a Fry's and mixed retail on that site...can't even tell there was a drive-in there before.

The only one I know of that has (had?) anything intact is the Epsom Downs (though that was a couple years ago - it could be gone now).

That drive-in on 45 at West Road was the McLendon Six. Six screens for your viewing pleasure.

The old Epsom Drive-in was on Jensen Drive three streets north of Tidwell. There's not much left of it, physically. There's a building where the concession stand would have been, but the screen tower is gone. Zoom in on Google Earth and you can still see the clear outlines of the speaker rows. It's on Jensen three streets north of Tidwell. In your handy Keymap on page 454-A you will notice there's still a short street named Epsom at that location.

The drive-in was built in the late 40s over part of the old Epsom Downs Race Track, which closed when Texas outlawed pari-mutuel horse race betting in 1937. A lot of that old property is now a Metro Park and Ride lot.

Edited by FilioScotia

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Sev, get thee to your fav bookshop (would that be sevfav?) and buy yourself a copy of _Cinema Houston_. Call it an inauguration present or something. You'll be glad you did.

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The Decker Drive-In was where my family went. I'll never forget once my dad saw some teenagers putting sugar cubes in peoples gas tanks while the driver was watching their movie. We got out of there. I'll also never forget the mosquito coils. I was usually preoccupied with the coil and missed the movie. The older kids were allowed to sit on top of the car and sometimes I was allowed to sit on the hood. Good memories.

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Sev, get thee to your fav bookshop (would that be sevfav?) and buy yourself a copy of _Cinema Houston_. Call it an inauguration present or something. You'll be glad you did.

I second that...that book is worth it's weight in gold. The drive-in on the 610 loop SE (@ Mykawa) looked like the one in Sevfiv's picture for many years. Grass growing over the shell parking lots that originally had little hills and valleys. Cars angled up a bit. Those speakers would hang on the car window, never would quite hang right. Haha..what a time.

Edited by NenaE

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Hey Sev check this out. You'll appreciate this item I found in another section of the HAIF. http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/Buildi...Epsom_Downs.php

Interesting. That's when Jensen was Humble Rd. - or Clark St. On current maps, the southern end of Jensen aligns with Clark around the 10/59 interchange, but there's not much left of Clark.

On this map, it was also labeled State Highway 35.

This one shows Clark turning in to Jensen, which was also 59.

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I'm almost certain you're thinking about the Trail Drive-in, which was on Old Spanish Trail on the other side of 288 from Yellowstone and Ardmore. In fact it was on the same property now occupied by the County Health Department's Mosquito Control Division. That's the only spot where something as big as a Drive In could have been.

Historic Aerials.com shows the old drive in site to be to the WEST of present day 288, at the intersection of OST and Ardmore. Here's pictures of the site's progression over the years.

1957:

drivein1957.jpg

1973:

drivein1973.jpg

1981:

drivein1981.jpg

2002:

drivein2002.jpg

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We used to go to the Hi Neighbor Drive Inn off Mykawa. It was across and south from Dixie drive going towards Belfort. That would be on the west side of Mykawa. You can use historicaerials.com to find it. I don't know what the address was, but I think there is a warehouse there now. I saw To Russia With Love and the Incredible Mr. Limpet there.

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Historic Aerials.com shows the old drive in site to be to the WEST of present day 288, at the intersection of OST and Ardmore.

I'll be damned. You're right. The back rows where I did a lot of heavy duty making out when I was in high school and college are now under the 288 freeway. In those days we called necking and petting. Heavy on the petting.

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I remember how graphically designed the front of the Thunderbird drive-in was.

I remember the giant yellow rubber ducky on one but can't recall which one it was. Post Oak?

Had completely forgotten the Hi Neighbor!

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We used to go to the Hi Neighbor Drive Inn off Mykawa. It was across and south from Dixie drive going towards Belfort. That would be on the west side of Mykawa. You can use historicaerials.com to find it. I don't know what the address was, but I think there is a warehouse there now. I saw To Russia With Love and the Incredible Mr. Limpet there.

The Hi-Nabor - 7200 Mykawa Road, opened May 22, 1953, also had a Kiddie Play Park, theater closed in 1967.

That was a litle early for a drive-in to close, does anyone know why? Talks about mosquitoes being a big issue. ---from Cinema Houston book

Edited by NenaE

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The Hi-Nabor - 7200 Mykawa Road, opened May 22, 1953, also had a Kiddie Play Park, theater closed in 1967.

That was a litle early for a drive-in to close, does anyone know why? Talks about mosquitoes being a big issue. ---from Cinema Houston book

For the longest time I thought the Hi-Nabor was the one on Old Katy Road at Witte Rd in Spring Branch. Obviously wrong. Does anybody remember the name of that drive-in? It disappeared long ago under all the building that's been done along Old Katy.

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For the longest time I thought the Hi-Nabor was the one on Old Katy Road at Witte Rd in Spring Branch. Obviously wrong. Does anybody remember the name of that drive-in? It disappeared long ago under all the building that's been done along Old Katy.

The Post Oak II - was actually located on N. Post Oak Rd. ( where Old Katy Rd. ends & crosses it.) It was in between Clarkson Ln. & Awty School Ln. (close to 610 Loop), opened in 1960. It's seen in the 1964 historic aerials map, 1973, as well, but looks a little overgrown or not kept up, by the 1981 map, it's lost to development. Once again, thnx to Cinema Houston book.

Could that be the one you remember? The map doesn't show one around Witte...maybe a smaller independent one was there at one time.

Edited by NenaE

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The Post Oak II - was actually located on N. Post Oak Rd. ( where Old Katy Rd. ends & crosses it.) It was in between Clarkson Ln. & Awty School Ln. (close to 610 Loop), opened in 1960. It's seen in the 1964 historic aerials map, 1973, as well, but looks a little overgrown or not kept up, by the 1981 map, it's lost to development. Once again, thnx to Cinema Houston book. Could that be the one you remember? The map doesn't show one around Witte...maybe a smaller independent one was there at one time.

I stand corrected. I now know that there was no drive-in at Witte Rd and Old Katy. I don't know why I thought there was.

I think it may have been because --20 or 25 years ago -- before developers completely covered up that corner -- I remember seeing some curving hilly features that resembled a drive-in's speaker rows. I guess I assumed that a drive-in used to be there. Wrong.

I've gone to the historic aerials site and a 1957 view of that area shows no sign of a drive-in theater.

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Here's a cool map from Cinema Houston:

Edit: better scan substituted.

drivein2.jpg

Edited by marmer

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My dad moved to Houston in 1951 and at one point lived off Law just north of West U. I was told there was a drive-in there by my mom (who married him much later, but I have never heard of that from anyone else.

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I stand corrected. I now know that there was no drive-in at Witte Rd and Old Katy. I don't know why I thought there was.

I think it may have been because --20 or 25 years ago -- before developers completely covered up that corner -- I remember seeing some curving hilly features that resembled a drive-in's speaker rows. I guess I assumed that a drive-in used to be there. Wrong.

I've gone to the historic aerials site and a 1957 view of that area shows no sign of a drive-in theater.

Maybe because the site was a driving range during that time. A friend of mine operated it for awhile.

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Here's a cool map from Cinema Houston:

Nice map, but...

The South Main and McClendon Drive-In's are in the right locations but each is on the wrong side of South Main, and the Sharpstown was on the north side of Bellaire.

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On 1/18/2009 at 4:04 PM, FilioScotia said:

I now have a firm fix on where the old Eagle Drive-in was in Pasadena. In the 1957 view of Pasadena on Historicaerials dot com, I found the Eagle on Red Bluff Road. In that old photo, it was on Red Bluff about halfway between Southmore and Spencer Highway. You will note a near total absence of residences and other streets. It was out in the country then.

I couldn't believe my eyes, but in the most recent photo of that same spot -- 2004 -- you can still see the unmistakeable outline and topography of a drive-in theater behind a building that's now almost at the intersection of Red Bluff and the East Sam Houston Tollway.

When I and my buddies went to the Eagle in the late 50s, Red Bluff was a badly pot-holed two lane asphalt road. Lordy how that has changed.

 

That's a tricky one to pinpoint. It's often confused with the Town & Country Drive-In, located at 4716 Red Bluff. If you use the approximate address of 3903 Red Bluff, it will get you in the general area of the Eagle. Its concession stand concrete foundation is behind and to the right of Amegy Bank. I verified this info. with my brother-in-law. He grew up in the area. The 1950's Eagle Drive-In had a large neon green eagle on the screen backside. The "I Grew Up in Pasadena, Tx" facebook group has quite a bit of info. on all of the Pasadena area theaters.  FilioScotia is right, those aerial maps are amazingly detailed. Sometimes, you have to use both HistoricAerials and GoogleEarth to see the progression, through the years.   Cinema Houston book mentions Town & Country, but not The Eagle Drive In.

Edited by NenaE

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