Sunset Drive-In

1801 Samuelson Road,
Rockford, IL 61109

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Concept art - Sunset Drive-In restored Box-Office

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Sunset Drive-In was one of three in Rockford (in addition to the Belford Drive-In and Robin Drive-In). All three date to at least the 1950’s, if not earlier. This was open as the Lin’s Air Drive-In in 1955. The single-screen drive-in, off Samuelson Road, was fairly good-sized, and could accommodate 700 cars. It was later renamed Sunset Drive-In and showed pornographic films towards the end.

Long ago closed, much of the drive-in has been demolished, but parts of it, like the concession stand and ticket booths, still stand, though ruined (by nature and vandals), with the property having become heavily overgrown.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

JimG on February 19, 2007 at 3:32 am

Don’t forget about the River Lane drive in in Loves Park,Il. Also the Sunset was originaly called Lin’s Air Theatre. It had the largest outdoor screen in the area possibly the nation.

JimG on February 21, 2007 at 7:49 am

Some people are trying to re-open the Sunset but there is neighborhood opposition see Rockford news paper Feb. 20,2007

rebeltag on February 22, 2007 at 12:59 am

A Buffalo Grove couple is trying to re-open the Sunset. At this point, the project looks like a go: View link

rivest266 on November 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm

This opened as Lin’s Air Drive-In on May 30th, 1950 and closed in 1970. It reopened in June 1971 as Sunset Drive-In. I have uploaded an aerial and both grand opening ads.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on February 24, 2012 at 4:33 am

After looking at the aerial view, I can see the concern of the neighbors about the location. Must of DI’s built back in day were out in the county with no neighbors that close. I would think that they would have been better off locating the DI in a more secluded location, instead of opening this one back up.

hototheyo on July 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Too many pretentious prix out there. Sure you show a lot of gore and violence…but heaven forbid that there is a bare boobie! ….And people screwing on camera. HOLD THE PHONES!!! Sex is how we got here folks. Adult films just celebrate it. Bring back the Sunset Drive in with the adult films. Watch as the summer heats up!

Scott on July 30, 2013 at 8:14 am

I remember seeing “The Buddy Holly Story” here in 1978. It was a fun show and it was well attended. Had no idea at the time that drive ins were winding down.

LissaLewis2014 on April 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm

To let u all know we know the issues with the neighbors and have been in touch with the owners as to reopening no porn but a full fledge drive in again we have a facebook page f interested in becoming involved.

KenLayton on April 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

I hope you can get this theater rebuilt and open again.

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