Trails End Drive-In

2118 Fair Road,
Abilene, KS 67410

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Trails End Drive-In

The Trails End Drive-In was opened in 1950. It was the only operating drive-in in Abilene during the late-1950’s. It parked 300 cars and was owned by H. F. Strong. It was closed in the early-1980’s.

Contributed by MikeRogers

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on September 13, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I think this theater was at about 2156 County Road 829. The site hasn’t been redeveloped and the lot is overgrown.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on September 17, 2010 at 8:50 am

Anyone know if that’s the location?

Open ~1955-~1985 approximate? Can anyone verify the exact dates?

I know for sure it was open in 1967.

Anyone have more info or photos?

Here’s how it got the name Trails End. In order to get cattle to the East, Cattle Drives from ranches in Texas went overland on the Chisholm Trail to Abilene, Kansas, the beginning of the railway, then the cattle could be shipped Eastward. Abielene was the Trails End.

Abilene was the town in which President Dwight D. Eisenhower went to Elementary and High School and so he chose that the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum be located in Abilene. The burial site for “IKE” and Mamie are also located there.

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on September 17, 2010 at 10:40 am

Right where MajorMajor said it was. Google Earth 1991 view it shows up much clearer and Topographic maps label it as a Drive In as well.

Coordinates 38.9087°N 97.2598°W

Kenmore on May 23, 2017 at 3:43 pm

A closer address (at least for Google) is 2118 Fair Rd, Abilene, KS.

Today, it is private property with a home and a few buildings on the site.

There is no trace of the drive-in remaining save for the concession stand/projection booth which is still intact. It is the building that sits at a SW/NE angle with a black roof on the property.

MichaelKilgore on November 4, 2019 at 5:58 pm

The Trails End was one of the few drive-ins that were in every Motion Picture Almanac drive-in list from the first in the 1950-51 edition to the last in 1988. Its first appearance in the Film Daily Year Book’s lists was 1951, so my guess would be a 1950 opening.

The closing date is even fuzzier. The drive-in looked operational in a 1981 aerial photo, and it was still included in a 1983 topo map, but the screen was gone in a 1991 aerial.

Boxoffice noted on Oct. 29, 1962 that 38-year-old Calvin A. Strowig was running as a Republican for the state House of Representatives. “Strowig and his brother Bob are partners in several theatres including the Plaza and Trail’s End Drive-In at Abilene and other houses in Oklahoma and Iowa.”

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