13166 W. Ozark Trail,
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Previously operated by: Video Independent Theaters Inc.
Functions: Movies (First Run)
The Teepee Drive-In was built on the outskirts of Tulsa, opening on May 5, 1950 with John Wayne in “Tycoon”. It had a capacity of 400 cars.
Over its 50 years it has passed through numerous owners. One owner tried to make a go of it in 1998 and 1999 but didn’t succeed. It did not re-open for the 2000 season.
A new owner took over and renovations began in March 2021 and it reopened on October 28, 2022 with “Halloween Ends”.
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Grand opening ad posted.
The Kante Group, part of the family of organizations by local entrepreneur Joni Rogers-Kante, has purchased the TeePee, as reported by the Sapulpa Times. Heavy equipment has already begun clearing the overgrown viewing field - photos in the article.
The Times wrote, “It’s unknown at this time exactly in what way the property will be used, but unnamed sources have told Sapulpa Times that they expect to have the theater operating again by the summer of 2021.” Unnamed sources? I wonder whether this was a spokesperson who didn’t want to talk on the record or just some local rumor.
Left unspoken is how patrons would drive to a reborn TeePee. If the Rock Creek Bridge is still closed, that would mean a fairly long drive on a narrow, albeit historic, stretch of old Route 66.
Either the bridge will have to be fixed or an access road cut behind the bridge. Coming from the other direction would create a substantial mess.
Unless they cut a deal with the VFW to allow access through their parking area. It would help with the overflow of traffic, but the VFW would have to be convinced to do it.
A January 2022 Google Street View shows the property has been mowed, the screen has been repainted, and the ticket booth has been torn down and in the process of being rebuilt.
The projector booth/concession stand was also torn down and as of the date of the Google Street View yet to be rebuilt.
However, the bridge leading to the drive-in has yet to be improved. It still has a weight limit of four tons. That’s about five vehicles maximum.
It’s possible that the new management might cut a deal with the VFW which would allow traffic to flow into its substantial parking area instead of sitting on the bridge.
An April 2022 Google Street View shows the ticket booth complete and work being done on building a new projection booth where the old one stood.
The ramps have been cleaned and rebuilt as well with work being done on the entrance road.
And, it appears that something may be constructed on the back of the lot. This may be where the concession stand will go.
It looks like part of the drive-in will be an AirBnB.
The drive-in, now spelled Tee Pee, is scheduled to hold its Grand Opening on April 15. See https://www.teepeedrivein.com/tickets
(According to the Tulsa World, the then-unfinished Tee Pee actually showed some movies in October 2022.)
Google Street View now shows the Rock Creek Bridge as reopened but weight-restricted and single-lane.
Aha! There’s a new side-street that Google Earth/Maps hasn’t noticed yet but Street View has: https://goo.gl/maps/kc5EgSTSneqpVLHdA It continues Highway 117 a block north to Ozark Trail, looping around the back of the Tee Pee.
Opened on 5th May 1950 with “Tycoon”.
Reopened on 28th October 2022 with “Halloween ends”.
The grand reopening was last night, April 15th, 2023. https://tinyurl.com/3cttdcth