Lake Estes Drive-In
1700 Big Thompson Avenue,
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The Lake Estes Drive-In was located on the northeast corner of Lake Estes and opened in 1954. It was operated by Shanks & Teuscher. It operated until 1990 when a fire in the concession stand as well as low attendance caused this theater to close.
At the time it was owned and operated by long time theater operaters, Richard "Mickey" and Ola Stanger (now deceased) from 1965 and the land is still owned by their heirs. The Stangers also owned the Park Theater (indoor) in downtown Estes Park which, like the drive in, operates May thru September. This theater is still in operation and in the Stanger family. The screen, marquee and speaker poles were demolished in 1999 when the Lake Shore Lodge was constructed on the south east corner of the drive in property.
The concession/projection/management housing building still stands (still equipped with two Ballantyne carbon arc projectors) as well as the ticket booth. The ramps have pretty much eroded away. There are plans to demolish these remaining buildings but nothing is set in stone at the moment. The screen was not demolished, but moved and re-used at the Mesa Drive-In, the same thing that was done with the screen from the defunct Pines Drive-In in Loveland, Colorado turning the Mesa into a triplex.
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