First and last Wyoming drive-in endures

Snack bar at the American Dream Drive-InThe Los Angeles Times gave us quite a gift this week with its profile of the American Dream Drive-In of Powell WY. There’s a great video (too bad I can’t embed it here) plus a lengthy story of the history of the American Dream, which opened in 1949 as Wyoming’s first drive-in theater and is now the state’s last one in operation. There’s also a good slide show on the side, although most of those photos show up in the video.

The article profiles Pokey Heny, the owner of the American Dream. Earlier this year, Heny faced the same decision that so many drive-in owners had to make – whether to buy digital projection equipment or close down. According to the Times, “The digital projector cost $80,000, what she paid for the place in 2004, but against her husband’s advice, she borrowed the money this year and took the plunge.”

“I’m investing in the town’s future,” Heny said. “So many businesses have closed, the bowling alley and video store. If I let this one go, it wasn’t ever coming back.”

You really need to read the article to get the full history of the place, from it’s beginnings as Paul’s Drive-In, then the Vali Drive-In, and now the American Dream, a name Heny chose when she bought it. “It really is the American dream to be your own boss,” she said. “And there aren’t that many female small-business owners in Wyoming.” So you know what to do. Go read it!