Lakeview Drive-In

6398 US-27,
Somerset, KY 42501

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Lakeview Snipe #1

The Lakeview Drive-In was opened as a single screen ozoner in the mid-1950’s. It was later twinned with a car capacity listed at 380 cars. It closed in July 1986 and was demolished on August 18, 1986.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

50sSNIPES on January 13, 2023 at 7:17 pm

Yep, the Lakeview and the Family were two different Drive-Ins that opened during the same year.

If anyone knew where the Family Drive-In was located, the Family was located on 409 South Highway 27, Somerset, KY 42501, where a Hardees was now at its site. To me, it probably had a similar capacity number to the Lakeview. And yes, it looks like that it was demolished a few years after closure judging from a 1972 aerial.

50sSNIPES on January 13, 2023 at 7:31 pm

So the Family Drive-In probably opened at the beginning of the 1951 season, judging from the 1950 (listed as 1951 as an error) aerial view. You might probably have a better page than me so I’ll give you credit on that because I made a mistake on the page I made.

Kenmore on January 14, 2023 at 4:33 am

50sSNIPES - On what basis do you say that the aerial listed as 1951 was taken a year earlier? Aerial photos are stamped to the year they were taken.

I know what your other information states, but unless the aerial photo can be shown to be taken the year before, then it was taken in 1951.

That does not contradict this location being the drive-in. It simply means that the drive-in might’ve been a quick construction or perhaps completed enough to allow for a grand opening.

I’ve seen plenty of buildings in which the “grand opening” was weeks, if not months before they were fully operational. Especially since it looks in the 1956 aerial as practically brand new with scraped ground around the screen and on the east end as if it had just been built.

50sSNIPES on January 14, 2023 at 5:59 am

Kenmore, the reason why I first thought the aerial has to be a year earlier is because drive-ins take nearly an estimate of five to six months for completion for the most part. I thought the picture might’ve been taken either in Late 1950 or perhaps the early first quarter of 1951. If the aerial has to be from 1951 then it has to be very early 1951 like January. Construction of the theater probably began in either February or March, depending if I can find the article. It’s just a thought that Historic Aerials might’ve taken the area just weeks before construction.

Kenmore on January 14, 2023 at 7:55 am

Wouldn’t it be more possible that the drive-in was quickly constructed and then improved over the next few years? The 1956 aerial certainly looks like some recent work had been made for expansion and perhaps a new screen. Perhaps its original incarnation was a temporary drive-in that was common at the time?

The screen in the 1956 aerial looks to be unchanged throughout the rest of the life of the drive-in. Since the widescreen seems to have been put in before the 1956 aerial, that would be a good excuse to “complete” or remodel the rest of the drive-in. Admittedly, it would greatly help to see the drive-in in its first year of operation.

I’m not saying it’s true, but given that aerials are normally stamped with the year they were taken, it makes it difficult to believe that it would be 1950. And with leaves on the trees, that seems to rule out January or February and even March depending on when spring arrived.

50sSNIPES on January 14, 2023 at 9:51 am

That would be possible if the Lakeview was built as a quick construction. A very fast construction of a drive-in can be a pretty hard discovery. The Lakeview’s expansion and updates could be definitely true because the Lakeview at the time received a newer 44x92ft CinemaScope screen during the 1955 season, meaning that the original screen was used for only around four years. The Lakeview’s first CinemaScope film after installation was Spencer Tracy in “Broken Lance” with no extra short subjects on June 1, 1955 and was the first drive-in there to install CinemaScope. Previously, CinemaScope was introduced in Somerset and installed at the Kentucky Theatre a year prior in 1954.

Kenmore on January 14, 2023 at 10:08 am

I think a “fast construction” is possible if the Lakeview was originally what is now termed a “temporary” drive-in. It’s something that would not be normally be advertised or reported as such, so there may be no indication that it was of that nature in the records. Only a photo would reveal that information.

Given that the 1956 aerial shows evidence of work around the screen, along the fence that sat on either side of the screen, and the back of the drive-in, I’d say it’s possible that it originally was “temporary” or perhaps quite spartan which allowed for a relatively quick construction.

MichaelKilgore on January 14, 2023 at 11:00 am

If you really want to nail down the exact date of a HistoricAerials photo, you can often find the original photo at, which will include that date. But Historic Aerials is sooo much more convenient!

Just saying, I’ve documented drive-ins that were built in six weeks. That required good weather and an experienced builder. Most early-1950s drive-ins builders didn’t have much experience, so in a word, yaneverknow.

Kenmore on January 14, 2023 at 12:21 pm

A 1955 topo map designates the Cumberland River as “Lake Cumberland” near Burnside, which addresses one question I had as to why someone would name it “Lakeview” and not “Riverview”.

However, the 1956 aerial shows 15 rows with 18 to 20 speaker poles per row. That’s 300 vehicles maximum capacity, not 520 as claimed in the Commonwealth.

Of course, I’ve run across several capacity claims made by drive-in owners that in no way matched what the property actually held. So, this is not surprising.

50sSNIPES on January 14, 2023 at 1:20 pm

I just found that the Lakeview closed for the final time in July 1986 and was demolished a month later on August 18, 1986 according to the Commonwealth.

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