Palm Drive-In

2301 Cameron Avenue,
Sanford, FL 32771

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Sanford Colored Drive-In, Colored Drive-In

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Palm Drive-In

The new 200 car capacity Colored Drive-In Theatre got off to a precarious start when it was being built in September of 1953. It was built by Harry F. Cushing with one of his partners in the new venture, John Brumley Jr. When Cushing and Brumley were overseeing the marking of the foundation, a man living in the area approached them and threatened “to blow it up,” Cushing told authorities, so work was halted. Mrs. Rand Meriwether, owner of five acres they intended to buy, sent Cushing a note for the property saying it was not for sale for that purpose. There were a lot of anti-theatre protesters against the new drive-in. One of the reasons they said was that Cameron Avenue was too narrow to handle the traffic that the theatre would attract. At that time there was no zoning laws that could have prevented the building of the drive-in.

After zoning laws were passed by referendum, the Seminole County commission allowed the referendum to lie dormant without setting procures for its operation. The land was owned by John Brumley, who was chairman of the Seminole Country school board, and his son was one of the investors. Cushing insisted the theatre will be built, whether the objectors try to get a court injunction or resort to violence. In looking at property deeds in September 1953, John L. Brumley and others were the owners. It was then sold to Harry F. Cushing for $2,500. The second deed shows it was sold to Mid-States Theatres Inc. for the same amount. The Colored Drive-In was built and opened on February 26, 1954, I believe, screening “Hellfire” and “Hoodlum Empire”. It looks like it closed on July 8, 1955. It reopened as the Palm Drive-In on September 16, 1956. It looks like it closed at the end of 1956. It was put up for sale on January 6, 1958 for $15,000. It is now the location of GPH Services and Brockman Site Development.

Contributed by Randy Studer
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