More than simply transportation

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, June 7, 2017

By Linda Evenson

Drive-in restaurants and theaters popped up as cars evolved from a simple mode of transportation to a source of recreation and enjoyment. Several drive-in restaurants populated this area. The 1959 Albert Lea telephone directory lists the A&W Root Beer stand, Dee’s Drive-In, Dixon’s Drive-In, Patty-O Drive-In and Ron’s Drive-In. The Starlight Drive-In Theater made its appearance in  July 1948.

Teenagers especially enjoyed showcasing their cars and meeting friends during their weekend drives up and down Broadway. This ritual goes back to the 1950s. Some refer to it as cruising Broadway, others as dragging Broadway. The route was the same. Drive south to Seventh Street, turn around and head north on Broadway to Fountain Street, and then do it all over again. Stopping to talk with friends, enjoying a snack from Merrill’s Popcorn Stand or catching a movie were all part of the experience. The businesses along Broadway provided gas, food, shopping and entertainment for everyone.