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Historic Homes Tour Spotlight: Drive-In Theatres

Opened in 1940, Eddie Joseph’s Drive-In was the area’s first outdoor movie theater. It was outside the city limits then, at today’s intersection of Justin and Lamar. At first, there was one large screen and only one speaker, which disturbed the peace at Frank Richcreek’s once-quiet farm nearby. At times, Richcreek let local teenagers watch the show from the top of his large dairy barn. Brentwood and Crestview neighbors remember sitting in their yards to see a movie. When the wind was right they could hear it, too. Eddie Joseph’s became the North Austin Drive-In in 1947 and closed in 1960.

Chief Drive-In, designed by Dallas architect Jack Corgan, opened on at Lamar and Koenig in 1947. The same owners then opened Allandale’s Burnet Drive-In at Burnet and Twin Oaks in 1950. Each had cutting-edge speakers for hundreds of cars and playgrounds with merry-go-rounds and slides. The Chief offered bottle warmers for infants and Li’l Toot, a kiddie train, was a perennial favorite. Promotional events included the Capital City Jamboree, headlined by George Jones; “Country Bill,” who buried himself alive in 1968; and feats by the Great Beronsini, a Czech daredevil who did handstands atop a 130 foot tower. Dallas muralist H. R. McBride, whose works graced drive-ins throughout Texas, painted the Burnet’s 32x48 foot likeness of a Texas Ranger in 1952. At the Chief, he painted an iconic Texas Longhorn and then a 50x30 foot American Indian on horseback in 1960. The Chief closed in 1973, followed by the Burnet.

We'll reveal another sneak peak from this year's 2016 Historic Homes Tour program every Friday before the event on April 30. Tickets are on sale now, so don't wait! We're featuring eight gorgeous homes, tours of the Wall of Welcome, neighborhood histories and more.