Campus Drive-In

6147 El Cajon Boulevard,
San Diego, CA 92115

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Campus Drive-In

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The Campus Drive-In was built in 1948. It had a capacity for 900 cars. This drive-in closed around 1983 and was demolished. A shopping center was built on its former site.

One of the most memorable features of this drive-in was the 46 foot high drum majorette outlined in neon lights that twirled a baton. Today the neon lighted drum majorette is “alive and well” and resides at the College Grove Shopping Center which replaced this drive-in.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

onedot on July 29, 2007 at 10:11 pm

Remnants of salvaged neon from the Campus Drive-In, the Plaza and Cabrillo theaters from Horton Plaza and many downtown San Diego signs remain in the collections of Gloria Poore and Juliette Mondot.
In the 1980’s, after watching old neon signs dropped on sidewalks from buildings being demolished, Gloria and I approached CCDC requesting salvage rights on hastily designed letterhead for SONO (Save Our Neon Organization). CCDC tried to sell salvage rights. No one bought. Finally we were allowed to salvage for free. Along with our husbands, Ben Harroll and Greg Calvert and several volunteers, we spent many weekends on ladders dismantling brittle, old neon, often caked with pigeon poop. We used it in light sculptures, performance pieces and photographs. We were shocked when we were asked to salvage the Campus Drive-In. We are glad the majorette twirls again. It is a nice twist of fate that SOHO is now the steward.

TRICITY71 on June 19, 2008 at 10:34 am


monika on June 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm

I grew up just a few blocks from this drive in. A very early memory of mine is seeing it razed on the local news.

JayAllenSanford on July 19, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Here’s an addition to the article excerpt above, about the killing that took place at the Campus in December 1961:

O'Connor’s father Jerome O'Connor spent so much time in courtrooms that he eventually became president of the San Diego Court Watchers Association.

In 1971, the murdered man’s sister, Maureen O'Connor, became the youngest person ever to be elected to the San Diego City Council. She was elected Mayor of San Diego in 1986.

The Reader just posted online a new draft of the complete San Diego drive-in history —– it’s more than twice the length of the original, with a lot of new information and something like 100 graphics that weren’t with the old article either ——

View link

lunarplaytime on October 6, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) gained ownership of the Neon Majorette in 2001. Here is the most recent article about her published in SOHO’s Our Heritage Magazine: View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 14, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Crying Shame this Drive-in could not be saved.

rivest266 on April 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm

This opened on August 18th, 1948. The grand opening ad has been posted here.

CSWalczak on October 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Scroll down about one-quarter of the way down on this webpage to see some additional pictures of the Campus Drive-in.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

The Campus Drive-In rated this page in Boxoffice of February 3, 1949. There are four photos. The Campus was designed by San Diego architect George Lykos.

horseshoe7 on November 15, 2015 at 10:34 pm

Ha! I snuck in, or watch over the walls, many many times at the Campus Drive-In in the mid 70’s… we would ride our bikes from Del Cerro, and climb up on top of adjacent businesses' roofs, and drop over the wall, then crawl up to the seats in the unmaintained “kids play area” in the front part, right under the screen… the old wooden seats there were all covered with ivy, but it was a good place to hide, as long as you didn’t turn the sound up too high (there were speakers next to those ivy-covered seats!)… we sometimes even got the gall to go and buy a soda from the concession stand, once the movie had started! … the only problem was that people with little dogs would let them take a dump in the playground sand, so you had to watch it up there in the “free seating area”.

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