These photos I took of the old Chief Drive-in Theatre marquee in south Topeka date back to March 9, 1993. At the time, I had been reading about Wal-Mart buying the land where the drive-in had sat, closed and decaying for over ten years, to build a new store. So, on that nice spring day 17 years ago I wandered around in what was left of the old outdoor cinema, photographing what I could before the construction of the Wal-Mart began.
The sign in these photos was located at the entrance to the theater, on the west side of Topeka Blvd, just a little south of 37th St. You entered here, drove west along a dirt road, stopped to pay, then drove on into the parking area, facing south towards the huge screen. The Chief opened in 1953. It was not Topeka's first drive-in. That honor goes to the Community, which was located at 25th and California. They were eventually joined by a third, the Cloverleaf, located where the Dillons now is at US 24 Highway and Rochester Rd.