June 3: Midway Drive-in Theatre, Miller SD

Midway Drive-In marquee

photo from the Midway Drive-In Facebook page

It’s Day 154 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. Once again I was fortunate enough to have a fairly short drive, less than an hour from the Pheasant City Drive-In Theatre just north of Redfield to the Midway Drive-in Theatre north of Miller.

According to a photo on the Midway’s Facebook page, Ernest Schweigerdt and John Kirschenman built the drive-in in 1953, midway between the towns of Miller and St. Lawrence. The original projector lasted until the Midway switched to digital projection in 2012.

In 1963, Schweigerdt’s son-in-law and daughter, Marvin and Alyce Oligmueller, purchased the drive-in. On an August evening in 1968, a violent storm blew down the wooden screen in the middle of a movie. Within a week and a half, a new metal screen was erected and movies were shown throughout the rest of the summer.

In 2004, Midway Drive-In came under the ownership of Sally and Duane Resel, Stephan and Lori Resel, Sarah Resel, Mike and Nan Donlin and Stephanie and the late Jim Bonebright.

In 2014, Mike Donlin told the Rapid City Journal that the Midway Drive-in was still getting by financially. “We’re sitting fine,” he said. “I’ve never really figured out what we make in wages, but we pay all our bills and everything and people have a good time. That’s all I really care about.”

Even though the latest Wimpy Kid entry has been out for a while, I hadn’t run into it yet. I suppose it kept my eyes occupied while my mouth worked on popcorn and a bar-b-dog. I’m always thankful for another night at the movies.

Miles Today / Total:  49 / 19765 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul / 70

Nearby Restaurant: Funny how one word can change everything. The Hi-Lite Bar and Lounge sounds like a smoky dive, but the Hi-Lite Steakhouse and Lounge sounds more like a restaurant. Good thing they made that change, because the menu’s got something for everyone. I had the mushroom, onion, and provolone burger. And beer, of course.

Where I Virtually Stayed: Another small town in South Dakota, another Super 8, but this time there was an alternative. The Dew Drop Inn Motel is one of those mom and pop motels that take care of the rooms personally. Mine had a microwave, a fridge, and decent wifi.

Only in Miller: On Thursday, I saw the pheasant statue in Gregory SD. On Friday, I saw the pheasant statue in Redfield. Today I saw two statues, but they weren’t pheasants. As related in Roadside America, at the intersection of the two main highways in Miller, there are statues of cattle on 8-foot poles – a Hereford on the north side, an Angus to the south.

Next stop: TK-Starlite Drive-In, Neligh NE.

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