"It's Not Coming Back:" Demolition Begins at Historic Keno Drive-In

The final credits are now rolling on the state's oldest drive-in movie theater.

The Keno Drive-In, located in Kenosha County, is officially being torn down.

Demolition work began this week, ending a lengthy battle by some community members to preserve the theater.

      "You see them standing on top of the concession stand ripping it off, taking panel by panel off of the front of the screen. And you realize, there's gonna be no more movies over there," says Eddie Kexel.

Kexel works at the bar across the street, and says the demolition work has been the talk of the town.

      "There were always people that were holding on," he says. "They were holding onto 'well maybe they're gonna do something with it. Maybe they're gonna revamp it. And now, they realize it's not. It's not coming back."

But there is a silver lining as the silver screen comes down. The developer, Bear Realty, has agreed to donate the main sign, along with a handful of other artifacts, to the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society.

      "They will be safely ensconced in a local farm until they find a way to be able to use it or show it in some kind of exhibit," says Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff. 

Pollocoff hopes the artifacts offer an opportunity to tell stories and reflect on the 66 years the theater served the community.

      "I think it's gonna be their time better spent remembering that, than remembering the fact that it had to close," he says, "Nothing is forever, but you might as well take what was good about it, and remember that."

Kexel hopes the artifacts allow people to share memories with those who may never visit a drive-in theater. 

      "Hopefully they can share some memories and some laughs with their kids, like, you did what to watch a movie? You sat in a car and watched a movie?" he says. "Yeah, that's what we did, and enjoyed every minute of it."

Share this article: