6200 North Cliff Avenue,
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One of the first of South Dakota’s early drive-in theatres to open was the Soo-Dell Drive-In, Sioux Falls, SD. The name Soo-Dell comes from the location of the new drive-in located between Sioux Falls and Dell Rapids, SD. It was claimed to be the first outdoor theatre to be built in the mid-west. I could not find anything to disprove that claim. I do believe it to be the first drive-in theatre to open in South Dakota.
The new drive-in was opened by Edward E. Paul, who was a well known musician and music teacher in the Sioux Falls area. The new airer opened on May 29, 1947. One of the unusual features of the Soo-Dell Drive-In was it was built without car ramps. It was said to have a natural amphitheater setting allowing a clear view of the screen. The new outdoor theatre had a capacity for 200 cars with (refreshment) curb service to each car.
Starting in 1948, the Soo-Dell Drive-In was operated by Harold E. Hansen (dba Drive-In Theatre Inc.). Edward E. Paul still owned the property. Eventually Hanson would go and open up the East Park Drive-In on September 3, 1948.
The Soo-Dell Drive-In was closed for good at the end of the 1949 season. The drive-in was demolished and in the mid-1950’s Edward E. Paul would build the Soo-Dell Mobile Home Court on the old drive-in property. The Soo-Dell Mobile Home Court still stands today.
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