Grand Prairie, TX
The Downs Drive-In was named after the nearby Arlington Downs Racetrack which had opened in 1929 and whose racetrack and grandstand extended eastward toward the drive-in less than a mile away. The original tower’s race horse screen tower was an homage to the landmark neighboring facility. This photo from 1955 is a bit hard to make out but it shows the extinguishing of a 1955 fire. Two years later, the Downs horse-themed tower would burn to the ground in a spectacular 4-alarm fire on January 19, 1957 where the film “Fury at Gun Sight Pass” was playing. Lightning plus neon light issues were the causes. It was replaced by a more generic screen with the lettering Downs at its top. In 1958, the Downs racetrack closed but the theater would retain its name until being purchased and converted to the multi-screen Century Drive-In.
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