HomeDrive-In TheatersSky Top Drive-In Theatre - St. Louis, MI

Sky Top Drive-In Theatre

Address: 1892 W Monroe Rd
City: St. Louis
State: MI
Zip: 48880
County: Gratiot
Open: (1949)
Closed: N/A
Capacity: 400
Owner History: N/A
Number of visits to this page: 9551
Notes:
Info Updates:
3/19/2021 - Andy Gray

Al Johnson took three shots in June 1949, just before it opened on June 21st. He labeled these slides "Langston Drive-In" but that apparently referred to one of the co-owners of the drive-in. A unique capped polished metal square tower held the marquee and a small neon "Sky-Top" sign. This tower was later replaced by a different marquee and signage. The marquee reads "Opening Tuesday June 21 'Silver River' with Errol Flynn."

In another image, the movie screen has visible exterior supports behind it. This is unlike most other Johnson drive-ins at which the screen tower, including all supports, was totally encased and was a key architectural element of the overall site.

The Cinema Treasures website says: "The Skytop Drive-In opened somewhere around 1950 [June 1949] and was initially owned by Lawrence Beers. Later went through other owners, T. Epps, Russell Kortes, James Langston. This ozoner was listed as a single screen with a 400 car capacity. The closing date given was September of 1986, and has since been demolished."

3/8/2021 - Andy Gray
The 400-car Sky Top Drive-In at 1892 W. Monroe Road in St. Louis, Michigan opened on June 21, 1949. My grandfather Al Johnson's Johnson Construction Co. built the drive-in, and his color slides include three images, taken in June 1949 just before the drive-in opened. incidentally, his slides are labeled "Langston Drive-In" but that apparently referred to one of the co-owners of the drive-in. A unique capped polished metal square tower held the marquee and a small neon "Sky-Top" sign. In Al's slide the marquee reads "Opening Tuesday June 21 'Silver River' with Errol Flynn." This tower was later replaced by a different marquee and signage.
5/24/2014 - waterwinterwonderland.com
Jill, Your dad, Darrell, used to do a pretty good job of singing the Neil Diamond songs too. He could have done a fairly decent stage show impersonating Neil Diamond. He wasn't the last owner of the Skytop though. It ran maybe another year or so after your family moved from there, until it flooded so badly in 1986. I think one of the highlights of the Skytop was the opening year with the fireworks. I think your aunt Lori sang for that intermission as well. Hope all is well with you Jilly Bean.
9/14/2013 - Jill Becker
My parents were I believe the last owners of the Sky Top, we lived in the trailer on the grounds. I think I was about 11 years old. My dad, Darrell Dringenberg used to play Neil Diamond while I did speaker check early every morning. Our trailer was also wired for sound from the movie. I got very fast at splicing the film when the reel would break. My aunt Lori would sometimes come and play with her band on a flatbed trailer by the concession stand building.
10/6/2011 - Michael Dancer
I have so many memories of the Sky Top that I couldn't possibly put them all down here. The best one is that you could fill your car up with all your friends and get in for a dollar. My Mother would pop a paper grocery sack full of pop corn and make a gallon of Kool-Aid and get all of my neighborhood friends and we would head for the movies. In the early days they had a merry go-round, they kind with horses, and swings and other things for us to play on before the sun went down. I remember watching movies with the wipers going because it was raining or if it was hot setting on the hood of the car with your back against the windshield. It was a perfect angle for watching the movie. Then as we began to drive and didn't have enough money to get in the show you would stick 2 or 3 guys in the trunk and sneak them in! In those days the back seat would go down and you could crawl out of the trunk without anybody seeing you! When I was married my wife and I took our boy and a couple of his friends to a double feature. The first show was what the kids wanted to see and we didn't know what the second one was about. These boys were about 10 or so and when the second movie started about 5 minutes into the show a woman comes walking out of the bedroom with no top on. Well it didn't take my wife long to say we wasn't staying for the double feature. She was real embarassed when she told the mother of the 2 boys we took what happened and that she didn't know that was going to happen.
1/12/2008 - Unknown
The Sky Top Drive-In was closed in 1986 after extensive flooding destroyed the buildings foundations. Although its location was not close to the Pine River and not on a flood plain, this was, nonetheless, the same time that the Pine River overflowed it''s banks flooding a portion of downtown Alma. This was also the same weather issue that caused the dam at Rainbow Lake to burst turning the lake into "Rainbow Flats".

It seems that the drainage ditches surrounding the theater were not able to keep up with the torrential rains that occurred during that time. The theater projection booth and concession stand at one point was under more than 3 feet of standing water.
3/25/2006 - Jack McCaslin
Totally gone now there is a self storage there nothing else.
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
July 1959 - Russell Kortes has succeeded Lawrence W. Beers as owner of the Skytop Drive-In at St. Louis.
1/6/2003 - WaterWinterWonderland
The driveway and some remains of the ramps are visible, nothing else remains.
 Photos:11
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - JUNE 1949 FROM AL JOHNSON
JUNE 1949 FROM AL JOHNSON
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - JUNE 1949 FROM AL JOHNSON
JUNE 1949 FROM AL JOHNSON
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - JUNE 1949 FROM AL JOHNSON
JUNE 1949 FROM AL JOHNSON
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - DRIVEWAY - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
DRIVEWAY - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - NOW - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
NOW - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - MARQUEE FROM DARRYL BURGESS
MARQUEE FROM DARRYL BURGESS
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - MARQUEE SIDE FROM DARRYL BURGESS
MARQUEE SIDE FROM DARRYL BURGESS
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - DRIVEWAY AND SCREEN - PHOTO FROM RG
DRIVEWAY AND SCREEN - PHOTO FROM RG
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - TICKET BOOTH FROM DARRYL BURGESS
TICKET BOOTH FROM DARRYL BURGESS
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - AERIAL
AERIAL
Sky Top Drive-In Theatre - AERIAL
AERIAL
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