West Park Drive-In

3rd Street SW.,
Huron, SD 57350

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West Park Drive-In

The West Park Drive-In was Huron’s first drive-in theatre which opened on July 2, 1948. It featured the 1946 comedy “Little Giant” with Bud Abbott & Lou Costello in 16mm. The Park West Drive-In was opened by Ed Taylor, Alva Taylor of Taylor Films and Charles Steinborn. Taylor Films sold 16mm projectors and distributed 16mm films. The drive-in did not have in-a-car speakers, but used 6 large speakers mounted on poles set around the perimeter of the parking ramp. The drive-in held 100 cars on the parking ramp while screening movies on a 20 ft. x 15 ft. screen. They also had carhop service to your car for refreshments. Taylor is quoted as saying, ”We expect to have a number of first run pictures, most which have not appeared in Huron. We will use 16mm film a least at first due to the contract difficulties we would run into if we ran 35mm films.”

The West Park Drive-In only lasted a year and it closed down when the Star-Lite Drive-In opened on July 1, 1949.

Contributed by Randy Studer

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Kenmore on July 6, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Wow, this is a tough drive-in to find. A 1951 aerial shows no sign of even a small drive-in on Third Street.

Which may mean that it was demolished almost immediately after it closed and turned into something that is simply not detectable as a drive-in.

kennerado on August 18, 2021 at 4:41 pm

I also can’t find any trace, newspaper ads said it was west of the fairground (the oval with a running track around it).

Kenmore on August 20, 2021 at 7:56 pm

There is a “West Park Avenue”, a street that runs north/south on the west side of the town. It’s about a mile west of the fairgrounds. However, there is no indication of a drive-in out that way from the 1951 aerial.

The area just to the west of the fairgrounds has a motel (which still exists today) and a considerably amount of private land mostly in its natural state. So, that doesn’t seem to be it either given the trees that are present.

You got me. I’m simply not seeing any area of land that fits the description of where a 100-car drive-in would be located west of the fairgrounds. At least nothing from the 1951 aerial. So, either the ads and description are wrong or it was totally demolished and rebuilt into something completely different.

kennerado on August 21, 2021 at 2:01 am

I’m thinking it was one of those temporary setups, since they didn’t even have in-car speakers, so the land was probably sold and built upon.

Kenmore on August 21, 2021 at 6:29 am

I agree.

I don’t believe that anything on Third Street Southwest could be the location. Everything is private property and open, at least in 1951. 100 cars are going to leave their mark.

My guess is the property at the SE corner of what is now Old HWY 14 and Pennington Ave NW. In 1951, it had a series of odd structures that I cannot identify. Today, it’s an open field with lots of junk on it.

At least being next to the highway makes more sense than tucked away on Third Street SW.

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