Star Auto Drive-In

The museum is always acquiring new artifacts, one of the latest is really cool!!   After you walk through the doors into the exhibits, stop, turn around and look up.  On the wall are hanging the two stars that used to be on the front of the screen of the Star Auto Drive-In theater.  The drive-in was in business from 1952-1999.  It was built and owned by D. Lee McLain.  In 1960, it was bought by Dick and Hazel Wyse who operated with their family until it closed.  

The two stars in this picture now hang in the Museum of Fulton County.
Photo Courtesy of

It was the place to be when you were in high school on a summer night.   There are lots of stories floating around on how you could try to sneak into drive in without paying.   Friends were hidden in trunks of the car.  Some waited till it was dark and crawled under the fence.  The braver ones walked in the exit path.   Sometimes you were able to get away with it, sometimes not.  There are even some who have recalled that they were successful in sneaking in 3.2 beer. 

Article from The Wauseon Republican 1952

Once you were in, picking the perfect spot to watch the movie was key.  Sometimes it took 2-3 spots  to find it.  You hung the speaker from the window and waited for the movie to begin.   There was one important thing to remember at the end of the movie, make sure and hang the speaker back up on the pole.  The concession stand was the place to go and get some snacks if you didn't bring your own; Popcorn, candy, burgers, pop, and more.   

Advertisement from The Wauseon Republican 1952

It was a sure sign of summer when you drove by and the opening date was announced.   If you attended Wauseon High School during the years that the drive-in was open, chances are that you watched a movie there during the Junior-Senior prom all night party. 

Advertisement from the 1956 edition of "The Chief"
From the Collection of the Museum of Fulton County

Lots of good memories about the drive-in theater.  There used to be lots of them around, Napoleon, Bryan, Morenci all had them.  The Field of Dreams, near Liberty Center, is the only one in the area.   You can stream movies on your TV, computer, Ipad, or cell phone,  but it can't replace going to the drive in on a warm summer night with friends and watching the latest movie with them.  What memories will come back to you if you come and see the orange stars from the Star Auto Drive in shining down at you. 

Advertisement of the 1997 edition of the "The Chief"
From the Collection of the Museum of Fulton County

If you have fond memories of the Star Auto Theatre please share them in the comments below.  We would love to see any photos of time you spent there. Email them to Scott Lonsdale at and you may see them in a future post.

Advertisement from The Wauseon Republican 1952

For more information on the Star Auto Drive-In Theatre please visit



  1. Man, I missed that place. As a young man I worked there for 4 years. The family who owned and ran it where the greatest. Kind of sad they sold off when they did.


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