Prairie Lake Drive-In

1136 E. Altamonte Drive,
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

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Prairie Lake Drive-In

The Prairie Lake Drive-In opened on September 30, 1948, screening the 1948 musical comedy “Feuding’, Fussin’ and a-Fightin" featuring Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride with Donald O’Connor. It was opened by James R. Partlow and Leonard H. Andrews dba Prairie Lake Drive-in Theatre Inc. Both men worked for Universal Pictures in charge of distribution in Atlanta. Bob Partlow, James brother was part of the partnership with others in operating the family’s drive-in theatres. They also owned the Kuhl/Orange Ave Drive-In Theatre and later on the Colonial Drive-In and South Trail Drive-In. The new drive-in featured a 40 Ft. X 60 Ft. screen tower, with a car capacity of 685 cars with in-a-car speakers.

One of the unusual features is the drive-in will have a laundromat so the patrons can enjoy the movies and get their laundry done at the same time. I have heard of this done before in the early histories of drive-in theatres. The new drive-in cost $125,000 to build. In 1963, Floyd Theatres was the new owner and operator of the Prairie Lake until 1986 when the property was sold to Main and Main Properties of Winter Park, FL. Floyd Theatres leased the property back until April 10, 1988 when the Prairie Lake was closed for good. The last movies to be screened were “Fatal Attraction", “Summer School” and “H.O.T.S.” In looking back to 1948, Partlow said the reason why the Partlow’s built their drive-in theatres in the Orlando area because it was an “up and coming” city in 1948. Now the property is more valuable for commercial development than drive-in theatre. It is now retail shopping stores.

GPS: 28.662141, -81.352855

Contributed by Randy Studer
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