County Drive-In

W. Hines Avenue and S. 11th Street,
Tucumcari, NM 88401

400 cars

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County Drive-In

The County Drive-In was opened around 1949. It was operated by L.R. Yessler. It was still open in 1956, but had closed by 1957.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

dansdriveintheater on January 16, 2019 at 3:00 pm

could only find one drive-in

dansdriveintheater on January 16, 2019 at 3:27 pm

still can only find one drive-in theater and it’s called canal drive-in i added it a couple of days ago. unless you can put evidence that Tucumcari had two drive-ins this should be taken down and the canal drive-in being updated to also being named county drive-in

NeonMichael on April 3, 2019 at 12:50 pm

The County and Canal were listed concurrently by both the Theatre Catalog and the Motion Picture Almanac. The evidence is strong that the County never became the Canal.

The County was in the first Motion Picture Almanac drive-in list in the 1950-51 edition. It was in the 1949-56 Catalogs with a capacity of 378 (later 400), owner L. R. Yessler.

All MPA list mentions:

  • 1950-54: capacity 400, owner Loren Yessler
  • 1955-56: capacity 400, owner Arthur Salcido
  • 1957-61: capacity 500, owner Arthur Salcido
  • 1962: off the list
NeonMichael on April 3, 2019 at 6:14 pm

After some serious digging I found this 1954 USGS aerial shot, from which I posted a detail to the Photo section here. It shows a drive-in screen facing southeast with room to expand. (The wider image also had the Canal Drive-In in its usual spot.)

The County Drive-In was due north of the bend in the canal north of Tucumcari Elementary School and just a little bit west of the current site of Mesalands Community College. The best address I could get out of Google Maps is W Hines Ave & S 11th St.

And now that we know where to look, you can still see that really large projection building and traces of ramps in the 1967 aerial.

Kenmore on April 3, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Yup, I actually saw that before in a 1967 aerial, but dismissed it as not being enough evidence. That is an unusually wide projector booth/concession stand for a drive-in. The ground seems level, so that eliminates some spaces for vehicles.

NeonMichael on April 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm

And here’s the story of how I found the online proof of the County’s former existence. Feel free to read it and leave me a comment there too.

NeonMichael on May 19, 2019 at 10:20 pm

The April 3, 1954 Motion Picture Herald wrote that Arthur Salcida bought the County from Waldo Slusher.

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