Hil'-Top Drive In

S. Highway 183,
La Crosse, KS 67575

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Hil'-Top Drive In - 2010

The Hil'-Top Drive-in was opened in 1953 by Ralph Larned, who owned the two other theatres in La Crosse. It was located adjacent to the golf course on the south edge of La Crosse on the east side of Highway 183.

The single screen theatre operated until a tornado destroyed the original screen in 1966. It reopened the following summer for a short period of time. Sterling and Steve Bagby reopened the drive-in in 1971 and operated it until 1973, when it was permanently closed.

After a fire destroyed the town’s Country Club, the concession building became a club house for the golf course until the mid-1980’s. In 1986, the box office, fences, and parking ramps were removed. In 2002, the concession building was razed leaving only the screen tower standing.

Contributed by Bradley Penka

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Kenmore on June 18, 2014 at 5:33 am

This is one of the most bizarre “dead drive-ins” I’ve ever seen. Closed for over 40 years and yet the screen, which is the only thing left standing, looks to be in really good condition. Can this be by chance?

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on June 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Maybe the owners are hoping to reopen it some day.

Kenmore on June 29, 2014 at 10:22 pm

After 40 years and not maintaining anything else? Even the ramps have almost faded completely away. That does seem a little far fetched to me.

Kenmore on February 14, 2023 at 4:29 pm

A closer address is 2186 Hwy 183, La Crosse, KS.

This is the address of the water treatment plant located about 700 feet north of the screen.

As of April 2022, the screen still appears to be in excellent condition with no trace of the rest of the drive-in remaining. Even the ramps and outline have been plowed away.

Rather remarkable that after 50 years the screen is in such good shape, so it obviously has been maintained.


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