Rouman Drive-In

4740 N. Shore Drive,
Rhinelander, WI 54501

500 cars

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Delft Theaters Inc.

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Rouman Drive-In

The Rouman Drive-In opened its gates on July 2, 1954 with John Archer in “Rodeo” and Cameron Mitchell in “Flight to Mars” along with an unnamed cartoon as a Saturday and Sunday matinee.

The theater was located at the eastern side of Rhinelander, a mile away from the city on North Shore Drive, and was first managed by Tom Leonard. It was owned by Pete Rouman. It was equipped with a fireproof projection/concession booth installed by the Minneapolis Theatre Supply Company of Minneapolis (75 Glenwood Avenue) and Charlie Herbst Jr. of Milwaukee (5372 North 36th Street) with the installation of water-cooling Century projection heads that takes the heat out of the carbons in the high-fidelity Ashcraft lamps that was used in the projection room. The kitchen installations at the concession booth were done by the Hodag Amusement Company of Tomahawk.

The main screen is a 40x74ft VistaVision/CinemaScope screen. It was installed due to the arrival of pictures with the format. Despite having the type of screen being installed, the city’s Majestic Theatre had their finishing touches with its CinemaScope screen marking the first in Rhinelander to have CinemaScope, but the first CinemaScope film at the Majestic didn’t come until two days after the Rouman Drive-In’s grand opening. Woodruff’s Woods and Minocqua’s Aqua Theatres already had their CinemaScope’s beforehand.

The Rouman Drive-In closed for the final time in the late-1980’s.

The screen and the concession building were still attached into the next few decades. The screen tower still stands as late as 2022, despite most of the screen’s covering was removed in the 1990’s, you can still see the screen’s interior parts (that was used in construction back in 1954). And if you take a good look carefully through Google Maps, Google Earth or Historic Aerials, the concession building appears that it was either still standing or blown due to multiple pieces scattering all over, but was unclear yet. A pie-piece of the traces as well as a tiny portion of the entrance path was also attached, but the exit path was gone.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Kenmore on October 9, 2022 at 8:07 pm

You can still see traces of the original entrance road which connected close to the current intersection of North Shore Drive and County HWY C, which was built well after the drive-in closed.

Another entrance road to the property was placed well after the drive-in closed to the east of the original entrance road.

The exit road existed until at least 2010, but that was partially obliterated by the construction of a dentist office. Which today uses its entrance road on the same location as the old exit road of the drive-in.

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