Oelwein Drive-In

1874 105th Street,
Hazelton, IA 50641

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Central States Theatres Corp

Previous Names: Drive-In Theatre

Nearby Theaters

1982 topi of the drive in

Oelwein’s Drive-In Theatre opened its gates on June 4, 1953 with a one-day showing of Richard Widmark in “My Pal Gus” along with a couple of cartoons, featuring a capacity of 350 cars and a nearly 55ft screen.

What’s strange about this drive-in is that it was originally planned to be built in May 1950 but wasn’t constructed until late-1952 for unknown reasons, and was built slightly under $50,000. Central States Theatres who operates the remaining two theaters in Oelwein was the first chain for the drive-in, and was first managed by Lloyd Johnston. It was later operated by M.H. Nicol.

The Oelwein Drive-In closed after the 1984 season, and the former projection/concession booth was demolished to make way for a house a few years later. The screen remains standing until the mid-2000’s.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

50sSNIPES on November 3, 2023 at 4:16 pm

Correction: The correct address is 1874 105th Street, Oelwein, IA 50641. Google Maps tricked me saying that it was located in Hazleton.

dansdriveintheater on November 3, 2023 at 6:54 pm

Does not appear in a 1957 aerial oddly enough!

Kenmore on November 3, 2023 at 8:50 pm

I looked at the 1957 aerial and it’s there. At that time, the drive-in had an exit road on the south side that connected to Isaac Drive which was on the west side of the property.

By 1975, the exit road was removed although you can still see the outline. By 1986, the drive-in was closed and a house was built where the projection booth/concession stand once stood.

Today, the property is owned by Miller’s Construction. But you can still barely see the outline and some of the ramps of the drive-in along with the foundation of the screen. The entrance road is roughly the same, but was altered around the 2006.

And, while I cannot be sure, the ticket booth may still be standing as well. A small structure stands next to a light in the same place that the ticket booth once stood on the old aerials.

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