Circle Drive-In

1801 W. King Avenue,
Florence, SC 29501

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Additional Info

Nearby Theaters

Circle Drive-In

The Circle Drive-In was opened on April 6, 1948 with Clifton Webb in “Sitting Pretty”. The May 10, 1961 Motion Picture Herald selected Floyd H. Gainous as one of its Showmen of the Year. At that time, he was city manager of Florence Theatres, Inc., of Florence, “who operate the Carolina Theatre, Colonial Theatre, and Circle Drive-In.”

The 1961 Motion Picture Almanac listed three drive-ins in Florence - the Palmetto Drive-In, Bright Leaf Drive-In, and Circle Drive-In. The latter had a capacity of 200 cars and was owned by T. S. Roe. The Circle Drive-In was closed on May 14, 1977. It had been demolished by 1983.

Contributed by Michael Kilgore

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

50sSNIPES on October 22, 2021 at 3:01 pm

This 300-car capacity Circle Drive-In was located on a 8-9 acre tract of land embracing 28 city lots and is one of a few drive-ins to be located inside the city limits in South Carolina as of 1949. Speaking of 1949, it opened on April 6, 1949 with “Sitting Pretty” with no extras. CinemaScope was installed on June 27, 1954 with “Knights Of The Round Table” as its first CinemaScope film. It was remodeled on June 7, 1961, reopening with “Bend Of The River”. It was closed on May 14, 1977 due to a failed ownership change.

Kenmore on October 23, 2021 at 10:05 am

I believe I found it. The address is 1801 West King Ave, Florence, SC.

The drive-in appears in a 1957 aerial. By 1983 it was totally gone. A large, empty building currently occupies most of the property. While the “Wash Tub” occupies the entrance road.

There is no trace of the drive-in remaining.

MichaelKilgore on October 23, 2021 at 2:36 pm

The Palmetto Drive-In was north of Florence on US 52, aka the “Florence-Darlington highway” per a 1953 ad in the Florence Morning News. I’d guess that it was the drive-in at 1711 W Lucas St., where a car dealer sits today.

The Bright Leaf Drive-In was on “US 76 - West” per the Morning News. So that must be the one that was at 3360 W Palmetto St.

I was going to ask how we knew the King Avenue drive-in was the Circle, but thanks to these bits of newspaper ad description, I think we’ve got it worked out by elimination. Confirmation comes from hints in this “story” in the April 2, 1950 Morning News:

“The Circle Drive-In Theatre, located at Five Points, will celebrate its first birthday this week … On an eight-acre uncultivated area of broom sage and weeds at the West Evans Street extension, the Circle Drive-In Theatre was built. It is locally owned and operated with T. S. Roe at the head … Space had been provided for over three hundred cars … If you do not care to leave your car, the roving Snack Cart will serve you where you are parked … The grounds area spacious and most apt for many daytime outdoor sports … During the winter, auto owners were given a gallon of gas that the might keep motors running when the thermometer neared the freezing point. This happened but three times during the entire winter.”

Let’s see, if 1950 was the first birthday, then the Grand Opening must have been …

First Circle Drive-In adFirst Circle Drive-In ad 06 Apr 1949, Wed Florence Morning News (Florence, South Carolina)

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.