August 7, 2015/Submitted/Last Updated February 29, 2016
The famous and historic TeePee Drive-in Theatre of Sapulpa is back on the market, and Steve Cox, a real estate agent with KW (Keller-Williams) Commercial says there has been a lot of interest.
“We believe we will find a buyer that wants to reopen it as a drive-in theatre,” Cox said Thursday.
There is a resurgence of interest in outdoor theaters. Tulsa’s Admiral Twin just north of I-244 has been “going great guns.” The huge dual screens were destroyed by fire a few years back but was rebuilt after a groundswell of fan support.
Cox says his agency sees the Sapulpa location as a great place for someone to come in and clean up the property and utilize the screen and other structures still on the 8.2 acres. The theater originally could park 400 cars.
Local people still talk about going to the movies at the TeePee on old Route 66 [1705 West Highway 66] just west of the 66 Bridge over Rock Creek. Like most drive-ins of the era, the TeePee faded and closed. It has had several owners since it first opened in 1950. It re-opened in 1997-98, Sapulpa’s Centennial year but closed again before the 2000 season started.
Cox and others believe Sapulpa and other communities would be supportive of such a venture — especially on Historic Route 66. The asking price is $275,000.
There was a burst of enthusiasm about four years ago over the possibility that the drive-in would re-open when a developer came through town with a plan to lease the landmark.
Russell Glen became a celebrity as Tulsa area media began to report of “a Florida businessman’s plans to restore Sapulpa’s TeePee Drive-In Theater to its old Route 66 glory days.”
A month later after volunteers had done significant clearing of overgrown brush and general cleaning, questions arose about Glen, who also used the last name Brannan. People had even donated money to the cause but Glen was absent and his promises of glory days faded with him.
The activity caught the attention of Creek County District Attorney Max Cook. Volunteers had invested some sweat and then tears, but apparently didn’t lose any money. Brannan would not talk further with media. There was no formal investigation.
Despite that shadow and some status changes with owners, the property is up for sale (not for lease). Cox and others are hopeful an individual or group of investors will see the potential and a community with lots of side pieces to complement a restored Tee-Pee Drive-In Theatre. The Route 66 Museum is set to open in the old Armory about a mile to the east on 66 the first of the year; Signs of the Times Event Center, a couple of restored old gas filling stations, a new 66 theme business at the old Ford agency, downtown activities and a popular Historical Museum are all joint attractors.
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