Tucson Drive-Ins That Were Never Built

In researching old newspaper articles, I discovered at least two planned drive-ins that were never built.

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Broadway Association Calls Meet to Protest Drive-in Construction

January 08, 1953

Arizona Daily Star

The Broadway Neighborhood association has called a "mass meeting" to continue to fight to prevent construction of an East Broadway drive-in theater.

The meeting, set for 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Peter Howell school, will be the associationís last before the Jan. 13 hearing of its injunction suit to curtail construction plans.

Several prominent Tucson businessmen and women have been invited to address the 1,000-member association, according to Arthur Marshall, association executive director.

Drive-In Theater Opposition Asks Additional Funds

January 10, 1953

Arizona Daily Star

More money must be raised to carry through the Broadway Neighborhood associationís legal battle against the proposed drive-in theater at Broadway and Wilmot road; leaders of the group said last night at a meeting at the Peter E. Howell School.

Elmer W. Courtland, treasurer of the association said another $5,000 will be needed in addition to the $4,714 initially raised to seek a permanent injunction. Even if the suit is successful, he said, an appeal may be expected.

Courtland said that $1,942.12 has already been spent, mostly for legal fees. Officers of the association hope to raise the additional $5,000 from an estimated 1,000 families in the area surrounding the theater site.

James Elliot Dunseath, counsel for the group, said the owners of the theater site have voluntarily delayed building operations, pending the outcome of the suit, which is scheduled to come up in court Tuesday.

A letter from the Citizensí Committee for County Wide Zoning was read. The committee asks at least $500 from each neighborhood association to help defeat the local option zoning measure on the ballot in February.

Present to speak in support of county wide zoning were Henrietta Murphy, chairman of the League of Women Voters, Roy Drachman, of the citizens committee, and Rapphael Beandes, director of the National Association for Asthmatic Children on East Broadway.

The meeting, attended by about 35 people, was directed by Ben McLain, acting chairman of the association.

Editors Note: This site is now either Park Place Mall or the old vacant Handyman and Silo Stores.


Firm Seeks to Build Drive-In

November 18, 1970

By John Rawlinson

Arizona Daily Star

Zoning Variance Needed for New Theater Site

The Cactus Corp., owner of five Tucson drive-in movie theaters, is planning to construct a new theater at the northeast corner of East 22nd Street and South Prudence Road, if the City Board of Adjustment approves a request for zoning variance.

The adjustment board is scheduled to hear the request of the Cactus Corp. Nov 25 at 1:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. The firm is owned by Tucsonans Hugh Downs and Wes Becker, according to Ewart II. Edwards, supervisor of theater operations for Cactus.

A file at the City Planning and Zoning Department on the corporations request to build a theater shows that the land was purchased in May, 1964, when it was in the county and under a different zoning classification.

The land was annexed into the city in February 1965, and was placed under a city B-2A zoning classification, which would allow a "theater within a completely closed building".

Dave Lim, acting director of the zoning department, said in a memorandum to the Board of Adjustment that his staff recommends a denial of the corporationís request.

Lim said his staff felt that an increased traffic load on Prudence would make the traffic flow "undesirable".

Lims communication to the board said the additional traffic (on Prudence) would require traffic signals at Prudence and 22nd Street, "which the city cannot afford at this time".

The communication said the zoning required for a drive-in theater would be I-1. If the Board of Adjustment denies the Cactus request, their next step would be to appeal to the City Planning and Zoning Commission for a zoning change, according to Morris Franks, city planner.

There are single-family residential homes to the west of the proposed drive-in, the Palo Verde Hospital for Mental Illness is to the north, vacant land to the south and a set of proposed apartment buildings may be built southwest of the site.

Edwards said last night he would not discuss the proposed drive-in theater, "at this time".

Limís communication also said the "the applicants proposed plan would not meet the county code requirements (for a drive-in) even if he (the applicant) did have the proper zoning."

The Cactus Corporation owns the Cactus, Midway, Rodeo, Apache, and Prince Drive-In theaters.

Editors Note: This site was occupied by the Payless Cashways store on the Northeast corner. The city did finally install a traffic signal at the intersection of Prudence and 22nd Street. Payless Cashways closed in 2002, probably due to competition from Home Depot. The lot now appears to be used by a car dealer for a truck sales lot.


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Last Updated May 07, 2000 GWC