Twilite Drive-In

27780 SD-17,
Lennox, SD 57039

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Twilite Drive-In

The Twilite Drive-In was opened in July 1949. The June 10, 1950 issue of BoxOffice reported, “Arden Davidson’s Twilight Drive-In at Lennox is ready to go in. Wind blew down the screen on this smallest open air theatre in the territory (150 cars) and a new and larger one was installed”.

A Lennox Drive-In appeared in the 1949-50 Theatre Catalog, It had a capacity of 250 and was owned by Arden G. Davidson. The 1952 Catalog had only the Twi-Lite Drive-In in Lennox, still owned by Davidson but with a 150 capacity.

The Twi-lite Drive-In debuted in the 1950 Film Daily Year Book next to a generic Lennox Drive-In, probably a duplicate. By the 1960 FDYB, it was the Twilite Drive-In, and it stayed on that list until at least 1964.

The Twilite Drive-In was in the first Motion Picture Almanac drive-in list, the 1950-51 edition. It was owned by A. Davidson and held 150 cars. In the 1955 MPA, the capacity dropped to 130, and the Twilite Drive-In fell off the list in 1966. By 1958 it had been demolished.

Contributed by Michael Kilgore

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Kenmore on June 6, 2019 at 8:36 am

A 1958 aerial of the town does not reveal any drive-in theater nearby that I can see.

Of course it may be hiding in plain sight, so I’m not trying to say it doesn’t exist. But any information that can help nail down the address would be helpful.

MichaelKilgore on June 7, 2019 at 10:47 pm

The Thursday, March 9, 1950 edition of the Sioux Falls SD Argus-Leader tells us a little. “Lennox, S. D., Mar. 9 – Strong winds Tuesday tore down and damaged the screen of the Twi-Light Drive-In theatre here. This is the second time the screen has been blown down since it was constructed early in 1949. Damage was greater this time than it was last year when it was blown down.”

The follow-up came on Friday, April 28, 1950. “Lennox, S. D. – The Twi-lite Drive-in theatre will be open for business Saturday. The screen has been reconstructed, after being completely demolished during the severe wind storm several weeks ago. It was the second time in a year that the screen has been demolished.”

The drive-in’s spelling was inconsistent even in its own for-sale ads in the Argus-Leader.

March 29 & 31, 1952: “SMALL Drive In Theatre. I am alone here and the reason for selling, can’t get good help. Theatre doing good, a very good buy for family. Write Twi-Lite Drive In Theatre, Lennox, South Dakota.”

May 26, 1952: “SMALL drive in theatre. In operation. Doing good. Reason for sale, can’t get help. Write Twilite Drive-in, Lennox.”

Kenmore on June 8, 2019 at 6:21 am

I’ve seen “twilight, "Twi-Light”, and Twilite" spelled in different ways. Not all that uncommon with newspaper ads, especially when updating them on the phone.

As I said before, I’ve yet to locate the drive-in on a 1958 aerial. But my eyes are not the greatest, so it could be shining like a beacon for all I know. Any help in nailing down the location would be helpful in getting an address.

MichaelKilgore on June 11, 2019 at 1:26 pm

Perhaps it opened as the Lennox. From the July 2, 1949 issue of BoxOffice:

LENNOX, S. D. – H. E. Davidson plans to open the Lennox Drive-In about July 17. Population of the town is 1,164. Capacity of the drive-in will be 130 autos. Davidson formerly had theatres at Bridgewater and Marion, S. D.

Kenmore on June 11, 2019 at 6:16 pm

I think I’m going blind looking at the 1958 aerial photo of Lennox. Even a 130 car drive-in should stand out if it was anywhere in or near that small town.

Is it possible that it closed well before 1958 and was demolished or someone built something over it? Cause I’m thinking that is possible.

MichaelKilgore on June 12, 2019 at 9:27 am

At last, a location hint, from the July 16, 1949 BoxOffice:

LENNOX, S. D. – Arden Davidson, former operator of a theatre in Bridgewater, has purchased two and one-half acres of land at the northeast edge of town for construction of a 175-car drive-in. He plans a 20x30-foot screen and four large amplifiers. Two concession stands will also be erected.

And now that you know where to look, check out the entrance and exit driveways on the sharper 1958 aerial at about 27780 SD-17.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on June 12, 2019 at 12:25 pm

If you look at the 1958 aerial of that location that might have been it..look south and you can see a outline of something..

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on June 12, 2019 at 12:36 pm

I talked to somebody in Lennox and they said it was where Jerry’s Auto is at. Looking at 1958 aerial and 2018 Goggle map it was north of Jerry’s. So that would be it I believe.

Kenmore on June 12, 2019 at 3:00 pm

If you are talking about the rectangular property just north of what appears to be a house and barn in the 1958 photo, it doesn’t look nearly big enough even for a 130 car drive-in. But then again I’ve seen so-called “official” information be wrong before, so it could have been smaller.

At least my guess about it being totally demolished before 1958 seems to be right. Which means that information should be added to the description.

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