Star-Lite Drive-In

8327 South Tacoma Way,
Tacoma, WA 98409

550 cars

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Snack bar

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Star-Lite Park-In Theatre was built in 1948 by E. Chester and Sue Nilsson and Charles L. and Cora Theuerkauf. It was the second drive-in theater built in Tacoma. Its original screen measured 39 feet by 54 feet. A newer, larger screen went up later.

The theater opened May 26, 1948, showing “Golden Earrings” with Ray Milland and Marlene Dietrich and “Adventure Island” with Rory Calhoun and Rhonda Fleming.

It closed as a drive-in theater in 1996 and operates as a swap meet site … for now. The giant screen still stands, but it looks like the whole site will be razed to make room for development. Someone is anxious to pay the hefty price for open land like that (three acres) in Tacoma.

Contributed by KatieMac

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

kateymac01
kateymac01 on May 3, 2005 at 3:18 pm

There are great photos to look at if you go to http://search.tpl.lib.wa.us/images/, and then type Star-Lite in the search line.

teecee
teecee on May 3, 2005 at 4:00 pm

great find! the hyperlink won’t work as typed due to the ending comma which needs to be removed. Here is the corrected link:

http://search.tpl.lib.wa.us/images/

KenLayton
KenLayton on September 6, 2005 at 8:08 am

About a month ago, Channel 7 (KIRO-tv) did a news story about the City of Tacoma shutting down the swap meet for a while. Seems the business owners had no business license to operate a swap meet. Also sellers are required to buy an individual swap meet license too!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for the pictures, I have it being owned by William Forman.he owned Several drive-ins in this state and it parked 550 cars.

jwmovies
jwmovies on December 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm
  1. ABOVE ADDRESS IS INCORRECT. THE ADDRESS IS 8327 South Tacoma Way.

  2. DRIVE-IN STATUS SHOULD BE CLOSED. THIS IS JUST A SWAP MEET. IT DOES NOT PLAY MOVIES.

StarBright
StarBright on May 11, 2015 at 3:36 pm

My husband and I met at the Star Lite Drive-In. He worked the field as a bouncer, I worked as a cashier both in the booth and the snack bar. We worked for Al and Joanie Larpentuer back in 1970. Those were fun times. We don’t have pictures, just lots of memories. We married in 1971 and continued to work there until our family started. Today we have taken a room in our home and named it the Star-Lite Theatre. Theatre seats from 6Ave. theatre which we recovered and black and maroon drapes which I made. This doesn’t sound much like the Star Lite Drive In but it is a lot warmer. And you can pause for the cause without missing any of the film. Thanks for the pictures, now I have something to hang up that is a part of the history of the “STAR LITE DRIVE IN”

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on July 12, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Any idea as to when the wider screen was added? The original, which is still partially visible behind the existing screen, appears to be curved rather than flat.

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