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Sunset Drive-In Theater and Cafe

12621 Old 66 Blvd., Carthage, MO

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This little stone building was built in 1935. Ann & Clyde Leeson operated the Sunset Cafe & Courts here after WW II. While folks were waiting for the food they were entertained by watching cartoons and short movies on a small screen in the yard, which eventually led to building a real drive-in theater out back. After the cafe and drive-in closed the little building was used as a craft shop for some period of time. When these photos were taken it was used for storage. The property is located on Old 66 Blvd. and Cty. Ln. 126. I'm not sure where the courts (cabins) were located, but possibly across the street.

GPS: 37.190400, -94.282654

xBy 1949 the Sunset Drive-in movie theater was opened and operated behind the Cafe stand until the mid-1970s. It was a pretty good size theater with room for 300 to 350 cars. The Leeson's owned and operated the theater for at least twenty years. There's really nothing left of the theater to see, but while there in 2016 we were shown where the movie screen was located.

x By 2016 the ticket booth for the theater had pretty much disintegrated and there wasn't much left to see. A handful of mobile homes are situated around what was the parking area.

Photo(s): 2016



x About Us We started traveling Historic U.S. Route 66 as a destination in 2009. It's like a 2,400 mile long drive back in time from Chicago to Santa Monica! more
xDid You Know: Many parts of the old 4 lane Route 66 were reverted to a 2 lane road after 66 was realigned to the interstate. In many places the abandoned lanes are still there.