Save the Redwood Drive-In Movie Theatre and Swap Meet!

Save the Redwood Drive-In Movie Theatre and Swap Meet!

Sign the petition!

The beloved Redwood Drive-In Movie Theatre and Swap Meet is under threat of rezoning! The community is rallying to stop the rezoning of this historic site, which has been a cornerstone for residents for decades.

Blanca Trejo, a swap meet vendor, shared her heartfelt plea: “This is my source of income. This is how I support my family.” Generations of families, like Jessica Ibarra’s, have made their livelihoods here. “I grew up selling here with my mom, over 20 years ago,” she said. Every weekend, over 5,000 people gather at the swap meet to buy second-hand and low-priced items. The community relies on this space for its products and produce. Developer Edge Homes has filed a petition to rezone the land from commercial use to housing. This change could displace hundreds of vendors and affect thousands of community members.

Join over 14,000 people who have already signed the petition to save this vital community space. As Cristian Gutierrez puts it, “It’s nostalgic. It’s something that if we lose, we are never going to get back.”

The West Valley City Planning Commission will soon review this application. Let’s make sure our voices are heard! Your input can make a difference.

Sign the petition now to keep the Redwood Drive-In Theatre and Swap Meet alive: [Petition Link]

Together, we can protect a piece of our community’s heart. ?❤️ #SaveRedwoodDriveIn #CommunityStrong #WestValleyCity

About the Drive-In Theaters HistoryA few things embody the essence of America, such as apple pie, Fourth of July barbeques, and drive-in movies. From its modest beginnings during the Great Depression in New Jersey to becoming a national phenomenon, the drive-in theater melded two iconic American passions: cars and movies.

Richard Hollingshead, an auto parts salesman, launched the world's first drive-in theater in Camden, New Jersey, on June 6, 1933. Its success sparked a wave of new drive-ins, and by the mid-1950s, there were over 4,000 drive-ins across the nation, some accommodating over 3,000 cars. However, the rise of television, indoor multiplex theaters, and soaring real estate prices led to a decline in drive-ins by the late 1970s. Today, just over 400 drive-ins remain in the United States, cherished by loyal fans who enjoy watching movies outdoors in a family-friendly environment.

Opening its doors in 1948, the Redwood Drive-in Theatre quickly became a favorite destination for movie enthusiasts in the Salt Lake area. It has become a beloved spot where families and fans can enjoy first-run movies under the beautiful Utah night sky. The Redwood Drive-In Theatre has undergone numerous changes over its 70-plus-year history. With our brand-new digital projection system, we proudly offer the most thrilling drive-in experience yet! Our state-of-the-art digital projection system delivers the sharpest and brightest images ever seen at a drive-in, combined with our powerful FM audio broadcast system, attracting new audiences who quickly become loyal fans.

The 1950s were known for their fast and fashionable cars. Salt Lake City’s Redwood Drive-in provided automobile enthusiasts an impressive alternative to their movie-going experience, with magic moonglow and pony rides. The United Intermountain Theaters Association opened the Redwood Drive-in on July 22, 1949. The Big Cat in Technicolor was the first movie featured on the forty-six by sixty screen. The drive-in theater cost a total of $140,000 and was designed to provide families with a wide variety of entertainment opportunities. Advertisements described the complex as a theater and playground featuring picnic tables, barbecue pits, wading pools, swing sets, and train and pony rides. Architects designed the lot to accommodate up to 600 cars at once, with a seating area for guests who preferred to enjoy the film outside their vehicles. The drive-in provided comforts such as individual speakers for each car, a button to request refreshments, and bottle warmers for its youngest visitors. One of the most impressive features was its “magic moonglow” light fixture, which gave guests the illusion of a full moon each night to help them navigate the site in the dark. The day before the Redwood’s grand opening, the Deseret News reported 2,784 electric light bulbs on the backside of the screen tower alone.

The drive-in served more than just Salt Lake City’s entertainment needs; the complex also hosted political advocacy and entrepreneurial events. For example, in October 1949, Redwood hosted a special show for adults only. Titled The Burning Question, the show was an informational film warning against marijuana use and advising parents about how to protect their children from this illegal drug. In 1960, the Redwood began regularly hosting a swap meet where vendors could buy and sell their belongings or other goods. Artists also utilized this to their benefit. In 1995, a Navajo artist, Ronnie Yazzie, began selling his art at the Redwood, where he met his most important sponsors and clients. The Redwood continues to host the Swap Meet, which has become a popular community event.

In an era where family time is scarce, and movie ticket prices are skyrocketing, the drive-in is returning, satisfying the national craving for affordable, high-quality family entertainment. Thankfully, the drive-in theater is far from a relic of the past. Thanks to Redwood and similar theaters, drive-ins are again becoming a popular American movie-going experience. After all, why just watch a movie when you can truly experience it?