Bel-Air Drive-In

315 Independence Boulevard,
Romeoville, IL 60446

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The Bel-Air Drive-In was opened in summer of 1949. The Bel-Air Drive-In was located off Historic Route 66 (Independence Boulevard) in Romeoville, north of Joliet. It was still open in 1988. Long since closed and torn down, the only vestige of this drive-in is the old marquee, now used for advertising by the storage facility built on the site. A “gentleman’s club” also shares a portion of the former Bel-Air property.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

buddy2007 on August 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I remember going there in the mid 70s. Good times.

DAL on August 9, 2012 at 10:43 am

This was actually an L&M location, along with the downtown Joliet theatres. I was friends with the long-time manager of the Bel-Air, John Strain. He had some pretty wild and funny stories about the place. One of the stranger ones was when the refinery behind it caught fire; the light from the flames made the area too bright for a decent presentation of the movie on the screen.

salc65 on April 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm

now at this time the the old marquee was torn down. went by their 2/12/2013 marquee is also gone no more markings where the bel_air was wish it was still their good times thier

Shelie_Jones on April 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I have a dream that one day I can buy back that property and Re-open a Drive-In… I would ammend the name, of course…. Bel-Air on Route 66. :)

MichaelKilgore on March 1, 2019 at 4:50 pm

The Bel-Air debuted in the 1949-50 Theatre Catalog, listed with exec: T. I. Wagner. The 1952 Catalog added the capacity of 1000 and changed the owner to H. and E. Balaban Ct.

The Motion Picture Almanac usually listed the “Belair” under Joliet. It was included in the MPA’s first drive-in list, for the 1950-51 edition, capacity 1000, owner Bel Aire Theatre Co.

The MPA showed the Bel Air on Romeoville Road in Lockport for a while, but included it through its final drive-in list in the 1988 edition.

MichaelKilgore on April 18, 2019 at 10:36 am

Aerial photos indicate that the Bel-Air wasn’t there in 1946, was active through at least 1952-74, and was gone by 1988. (Although a 1988 topo map still showed its outline, so I guess those aren’t perfect either.)

Kenmore on April 18, 2019 at 1:45 pm

Topo maps are rather notorious for not being updated. They often show features such as drive-ins that have been long removed as aerial photos have revealed.

Topo maps are good for verifying that a drive-in existed once in a location, but they are far from conclusive in terms of when something has been removed.

MichaelKilgore on July 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Two notes in the Showmen’s Trade Review verified that the Bel-Air, wrongly considered to be in Joliet, opened in the summer of 1949.

From Aug. 6, 1949: “The Bel-Air drive-in at Joliet, Ill., opened last week.”

Aug. 13: “C. S. Ashcraft of the Ashcraft Company on Long Island attended the opening of the 1,000-car Bel-Air drive-in at Joliet.”

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