French Village Drive-In
8601 California Drive,
East St. Louis,
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This was one of the older ozoners in the St. Louis area. It opened in 1942 by Publix Great States Theatres with a capacity of 500 cars. It opened as the East St. Louis Drive-In. Its name was later changed to the French Village and ownership changed to Bloomer Amusement Co. (BAC).
Beside the architecture of the buildings the screen tower is noted for having a stage and dressing rooms below it. Another feature to the state of drive-ins at the time were the tiered rows where cars pulled up the ramps to park and had to back out to leave.
There was a tunnel running from the front box office to the projection booth and to the back of the theatre. Through the tunnel was run the electrical, water lines and speaker wires.
During its later life it switched to pornographic features until it closed in 1984. It was sitting empty with its large screen and main entrance on St. Clair Avenue in the early-2000’s, but had been demolished by 2007.
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