Crystal Drive-In

Pingree Road and Drive-in Lane,
Crystal Lake, IL

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Crystal Drive-In

Opened in 1954 as the Crystal Lake Drive-In (its name was soon afterward shortened to the Crystal Drive-In), this theater was located on Highway 14 at Pingree Road, in Crystal Lake. It could accomodate about 1000 cars.

It closed by the early 70s. Today, though vandalized and falling apart, the screen tower still stands, though the Crystal’s concession, projection and ticket structures were long ago demolished. The whole former drive-in property is now very heavily overgrown, though surrounded by ever-expanding residential development.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

karaoketom on January 16, 2004 at 6:14 am

Growing up in this area and then coming back years later; it truly is a marvel to see that the screen still stands and is like a piece of history that is frozen in time. Indeed it is heavily overgrown and if looking for it, you must keep a close eye out for it. It is on the east side of Pingree road about 1/16 – 1/8 miles south of Rte. 14.

alojko on May 5, 2005 at 8:16 pm

Unfortunately this theater and land was torn down and excavated. Townnhomes are being built in its place. I remember the days that my brother, sister and I would spend a weekend night watching movies at this theater, with our parents. I missed those days. I have been taking my 2 daughters to the McHenry Drive-In for the last 5 years, so they too can experience the thrill of being at a drive-in. My oldest daughter, is looking forward to working at that theater this year.

IceCoach on May 13, 2010 at 11:40 am

I sent most of my grade school and high school years at the Crystal Lake Drive In in Crystal Lake, IL. My Dad was the projectonist there for years and during the summer when I was off school I would spend my time helping him maintain the drive in. We would fix the broken speakers and clean up the car ramps of garbage from the night before. We would also change the marquee out on Rte. 14 that showed the movies that were playing at the time. It was a great place to spend time with my dad because he taught me the theatre business and we had great times together there. The drive in once had pony rides in a area that was below the screen area. They had a barn there where the ponies were kept and all of the saddles and all. I can remember at a younger age sitting on the back tailgate of the station wagon watching the movies in our pajamas. What a shame those times are gone and only a few cement memories remain now where a great outdoor theatre once stood.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 13, 2010 at 11:51 am

They must have expanded the Drive-in.My 1956 Motion Picture Almanac has it parking only 500 cars and was owned by L.&D.Marce.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

great story Divotking.

TLSLOEWS on May 14, 2010 at 9:52 am

Those were the days.

Capraatt on April 13, 2011 at 8:20 am

Does anyone have any pictures of the drive in? I have searched high and wide for any photos, either while it was operational or after it was closed and cant seem to find anything.

rivest266 on June 25, 2012 at 5:54 am

1962 aerial has been posted here.

jwmovies on September 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Approx. address for this drive-in was 7382 Pingree Road.

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