Geneva 4 Drive-In
607 Carter Street,
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Opened with a single screen on June 15, 1950 on the site of an abandoned midget car racing track. The Geneva Drive-In was one of the most celebrated drive-ins in the San Francisco Bay area and had a car capacity for 771. Writer Hunter S. Thompson was a frequent visitor to the Geneva Drive-In, and wrote of his experiences there.
Located in South San Francisco’s Excelsior district, the Geneva Drive-In underwent many changes in its 50-year history. In the hopes that car racing would return to the area, the original owner left the vast grandstand in place, adding new screens and multiple features for the area residents.
Adjacent to the Cow Palace arena, the Geneva Drive-In survived many social and economic changes in the local community, and despite its poor surroundings, flourished through the period when most Bay Area drive-ins were closing by the dozens.
The Geneva 4 abruptly closed in 1999. Flea markets were still held at the site for another year, but the Geneva 4 Drive-In was abandoned in 2000.
Oddly enough (possibly due to the economic downturn of the area), Century Theatres chose to allow the Geneva 4 Drive-In to quietly decay for the next two years. Then, in March of 2002, the Geneva 4 Drive-In was unceremoniously demolished.
The site still remains vacant. The ramps and many speaker poles still remain, as does a small marquee at the Carter Street entrance, which is now fenced off to deter trespassers.
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