1301 SW 37th Street,
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The Chief Drive-In was built in 1952 and was closed by 1982. All that is left is the neon sign that was moved from HWY 75 to its current location on SW 37th Street in front of the Walmart Supercenter where the drive-in was located.
One of two plaques on the sign reads:
“The Kansas State Historical Society recognizes WAL-MART Stores, Inc. for the preservation of the Chief Drive-In Sign.
A visually important part of Topeka’s heritage, the sign was made in 1953 and is a reminder of the days when porcelain and neon signs were a common form of advertising. Images of Indians often were used commercially in the 1950’s.
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From the Oct. 27, 1956 Motion Picture Herald:
W. R. Palmer, owner of the Palmer News Company, has purchased the stock of Herbert Mack in the Chief drive-in theatre, Topeka, Kan. Palmer, Mack and the late Lawrence Breuninger had owned the stock since it was opened in 1952. The Chief corporation now is owned entirely by the Palmer family. Palmer said he planned no change in policy or operation at this time.
The Walmart which utilizes the old Chief Drive-In marquee and address will be running movies in it’s parking lot.