Apache Drive-In

3604 E. Apache Street,
Tulsa, OK 74115

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Apache Drive-In

The Apache Drive-In opened prior to 1949 with Lena Horne in “Stormy Weather”. It was initially a negro theatre and was owned and operated by L.E. Snyder with a capacity for 250 cars. By 1955 it had a capacity for 300 cars. It became a ‘whites only’ theatre until the end of segregation. It closed at the end of the 1983 season and was later demolished.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Craigadams11 on November 23, 2006 at 6:25 am

The Apache was opened by L. E. Snyder July 7th 1948. was closed in 1983. It had a large playground complete with a miniature golf course and dance patio. The rides were built by Robert Bell, who later built Bells Amusement park here in Tulsa. They had a replica Crosley fire engine that they gave rides around the lot to children. The theatre had 12 ramps. I worked there during my HS years in the late 60’s and my dad was a ticket seller. Originally it was a black theatre and later catered to whites only until intergration.

Craigadams11 on December 16, 2006 at 6:31 pm

A Rusted piece of the old Marquee is all that is left of the theatre.

Kenmore on June 12, 2013 at 10:55 am

Here is an aerial photo of the Apache taken in 1967. http://tinyurl.com/kebogjo

hthomas49 on June 26, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Went here many times. actually saw UFO’s in August 1965 or 1966 while watching the movie.

MichaelKilgore on February 24, 2019 at 11:33 am

The Motion Picture Almanacs listed the Apache with a capacity of 225, then 200, which seems reasonable looking at Drive-in 54’s aerial photo. The Theatre Catalogs had the capacity at 300, owner Earl Snyder.

MichaelKilgore on October 3, 2021 at 7:54 pm

Please help me out here. As I type, the Apache’s description above says that it closed in 1979. That’s quite possible, since it fell of the Motion Picture Almanac’s annual list after the 1982 edition. But where did 1979 come from? Is that when the Apache stopped advertising? Did historian Wesley Horton write a note about that somewhere? Is this the personal memory of someone who worked there? Knowing the source would help me better understand how reliable that date is.

Kenmore on October 4, 2021 at 5:16 am

The Tulsa TV Memories site has the drive-in closing by end of 1983. I worked at the 11th Street drive-in the year before and both drive-ins along with the Airview closed within a year or so of each other.


MichaelKilgore on October 4, 2021 at 9:45 am

Thanks for the note, Kenmore. Tulsa TV Memories is an excellent site, though sometimes I can’t tell where their info came from. In this case, it says that the Apache “Closed by June 1984, presumably end of 1983 season.” That sounds like what I’d write if I had only a June 1984 issue of Tulsa World and the Apache didn’t advertise in it. Left unsaid is a reason to believe it was open in 1983 or any other given year.

I want to emphasize that I love Wesley Horton’s work, and I’d give a whole roll of nickels to be able to correspond with him. But I digress.

Cool that you worked at the 11th Street, Kenmore! Do you know why it closed in 1959, then reopened in 1964, or are my dates wrong? (I guess it would be more helpful if you go to that drive-in’s page to describe what happened.)

Kenmore on October 4, 2021 at 2:12 pm

I do not know why the 11th Street was closed from the end of 1959 to 1964. So, I’m not going to guess. Only that the Tulsa TV Memories site listed it as being “rebuilt” before opening in ‘64. But the screen was not changed. Our manager said it was the oldest standing screen in Tulsa at that time.

But I can say I remember that the 11th Street and Airview were owned by the same company and I believe they closed at roughly the same time. The Apache was owned by someone else, but I know they closed no later than the end of the ‘83 season.

In those days we opened in April or May and closed in September.

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