Mar. 6: Tower Drive-In, Poteau OK

A grassy drive-in lot with cars facing a screen

photo from the Tower Drive-In Facebook page

It’s Day 65 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It took a couple of hours to work my way down from Tulsa to the Tower Drive-In in Poteau OK.

The Tower opened in 1950 and has continued operating ever since. For a while, there was another drive-in in Poteau, the “Y”. Details are a little sketchy, but it looks like the Y was open from around 1949 through the late 1960s.

The Tower sits behind a three-screen indoor theater with which it shares its marquee, as seen in this photo. The drive-in updated to digital projection in 2012. As owner Amber Pickel told The Oklahoman back then, “By the time the upgrades are paid off, it will be time to upgrade again.”

Unfortunately for me, the Tower is still closed for the season despite highs in the 70s this week. I’m still ahead of the pace I need to catch 200 film nights this year, and I’m looking forward to finding more active drive-ins soon.

Miles Today / Total:  123 / 8435 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 38

Nearby Restaurant: The closest restaurant, within easy walking distance, is a Western Sizzlin, a steak and buffet chain that I hadn’t visited in a long time. I remembered to load up on greens from the salad bar before I got tempted by all the meats and desserts available.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The closest hotel to the Tower is a Days Inn. To call that chain variable in quality would be kind, but the Poteau Days Inn is an example that proves that some of its locations are good. Solid wifi in my nice clean room along with a mini-fridge and microwave plus a continental breakfast, all for a very fair price.

Only in Poteau: The local chamber of commerce promotes Cavanal Hill (visible in the background of the photo above) as the “tallest hill in the world.” If it really is its advertised 1999 feet high, that makes it one foot short of a mountain. But according to its Wikipedia entry, Cavanal Hill’s actual summit elevation is 2,385 feet above sea level; making the difference in elevation between the summit and the nearby Poteau River just 1960 feet.

Next Stop: 112 Drive In, Fayetteville AR.

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