Lights Out: Abandoned American Drive-Ins
Another drive-in both named and decorated in a Native American theme is the Pow-Wow Drive-In in Oroville, Washington — just steps away from the Canadian border. The logo that’s still visible on their neon marquee is a caricature of a Native American boy, with a potbelly and feathers in his hair. Most of the letters in the sign have now been stolen by eager antique collectors. The drive-in’s slogan was “See Um Tonight,” no doubt a super un-PC way of harkening back to stereotypical Native American speech patterns.
Not much is known about the drive-in, other than the fact that it could hold up to 500 cars at a time when it was operational.
The Starlite Drive-In in downtown Brenham, Texas could be yours if you’re willing to pay. As of 2012, it was for sale. In its operational peak, it could fit up to 300 cars.
The only part of the theater that still exists is the screen tower, which has the words “Starlite Theatre” painted on it in huge cursive letters. There are parts of the tower that have obviously been replaced in a different material, and the nearby concession building was torn down in 2016, so it’s probably only a matter of time before the screen tower is taken down, too.
The area where cars would park to watch movies at the Madison Skyway is still clear, although the area around the screen and marquee has become overgrown with trees and other vegetation. The exact opening date of the theater is unclear, but most likely it was opened some time in the 1940s. It remained in operation a very respectable 40-50 years, until it closed in 1989.
The neon marquee is still intact but is getting more obscured by vegetation with every passing year. The green screen tower was sadly torn down in the mid 2010s.