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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Dubuque Drive-In, 17481 S. John Deere Road. Photo courtesy: Cinema Treasures. Online: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/47474
DRIVE-INS. Dubuque entered the drive-in business later than many communities. The Dubuque Drive-In opened in July 1949. Due to its position on a steep slope, it had two terraces above the main field. The main field could hold 500 cars, and the terraces could hold 50 cars on the lower and 200 cars on the upper terrace. (1)

Owned by N. J. YIANNIAS, the theater closed in 1985.

Photo courtesy: Cinema Treasures. Online: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/47474
Super 20 (1964) Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
Super 20 after it was moved west of the city.
Telegraph Herald, June 7, 1964. Image courtesy: Diane Harris

Dubuque's second drive in, the Super 20, was built in 1964 by James N. Yiannias and his son N. J. Yiannias at an expected cost of $250,000. The owners stated that the theater could be accessed by the "new" Kennedy Road, University Avenue and Dodge Street. The 14-acre site offered a 110-foot screen, snack bar, and a kiddie's playground with a variety of equipment. It has one screen and a capacity of 600 cars. (2)

When KENNEDY MALL opened, Yiannias moved the drive-in west on Highway 20 and added a second screen. The theater was equipped with a 70mm projector, one of only a dozen used in outdoor theaters across the nation at the time and the only one in Iowa. The Super 20 Twin was located at 14674 N Cascade Rd, Dubuque, IA 52003. The last drive-in in Dubuque, Super 20 Twin, closed in 1988. (3) In 2017 the area was a trailer park.

By 1984 the two Dubuque drive-ins were among fifty-one remaining in Iowa and an estimated 2,900 still in operation in the United States. The peak of the drive-in business came in 1958 when an estimated 4,063 were in operation.



1. Cinema Treasures. Online: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/47474

2. "$250,000 Drive-in Theater," Telegraph-Herald, April 19, 1964, p. 16

3. Japsen, Bruce. "Dubuque Drive-In Bows Out," Telegraph Herald, June 1, 1988, p. 3