East Buffalo Drive-In

3725 E. Martin Luther King Boulevard,
Tampa, FL 33610

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East Buffalo Drive-In

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The Buffalo Drive-In was operating in 1955-1956, and was for African-Americans only. It seems to have been a short-lived theater. No trace of it remains.

Contributed by Andy

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

NYozoner
NYozoner on January 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm

@Andy: Drive-ins.com has a 1958 aerial of the 28th Street Drive-In, which apparently used to be where I-4 intersects 28th St.

E 12th Ave & N 28th St, Tampa, FL 33605 will map to just south of the location where the drive-in used to be. I would have liked to view a larger aerial photo with more surrounding features, in order to positively identify the location, but unfortunately Earth Explorer does not have the 1958 aerial set available.

There is another drive-in about 1 mile east of the 28th Street Drive-In, at E 10th Ave & N 42nd St, Tampa, FL 33605, which Drive-ins.com also has a 1958 aerial of. Using that aerial photo, I have been able to positively match up the location to the address, but I do not yet have a name for that particular drive-in. Drive-ins.com mentions 6th Avenue Drive-In as a possible name, but it would be nice for someone local to Tampa to confirm this.

Both drive-ins were short-lived inner city drive-ins which I am sure were advertised in the newspaper, and would have been open in the mid-late 1950s.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on February 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Here a little information from someone who’s familiar with these three drive-ins. Hopefully this will clear up at least some of the mystery. According to a friend who was a former projectionist (and who worked for 3 years at one of these drive-ins) these three drive-ins were located in fairly close proximity to each other. I don’t have the physical addresses for each but the names were Columbus, 40th Street, and East Buffalo.

The Columbus and East Buffalo were both segregated black theatres. My friend worked at both the Columbus and the 40th Street. According to him the Columbus was located at 29th Street off of Columbus Drive. The lot itself was not near Columbus Drive but was actually two or three blocks south of Columbus at 29th. This is the drive-in where Interstate 4 today runs over the property.

The photo in the first aerial link provided above by NYozoner shows a 28th Street Drive-In which may or may not be the Columbus. My friend says there was never a 28th Street Drive-in in Tampa although St. Petersburg did have a 28th Street D/I. But since the Columbus was located at 29th Street this could very well be the Columbus. In looking at the aerial it’s hard to say for certain without seeing any identifying buildings or other landmarks.

The East Buffalo Drive-In was located on the south side of Martin Luther King Boulevard a couple blocks west of 40th Street. The photo in the second aerial link above is most definitely the 40th Street which was exclusively white. This drive-in was located on the north side of 7th Avenue (Broadway) at 40th Street.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Glad you are back on Nick.You have a comment on your Castle Comments about his Movies he made in the 50’s,might want to check it out if you already haven’t.hope everything is okay.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on April 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Aerial from 1957. Lot was narrow but long:
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm

You ain’t kidding.It was narrow.thanks for the picture.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on April 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm

In contrast with the 1957 aerial above here’s an aerial showing what the property looks like today:
View link

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 24, 2011 at 10:58 am

Thanks Nick,nice research.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm

thanks again Nick,you and a few other members add so much enjoyment to CT.

Richard Wheeler
Richard Wheeler on July 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

A second photo has been added showing a handbill that does indeed show that the theatre was segregated at some point during its existence.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on August 3, 2011 at 2:57 am

Nice historical coming attractions handbill—thanks for posting!

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