One Route 66 landmark’s loss is another’s gain. The Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa will host the 918 Flea Market starting April 14 after it operated for several weekends at the Rose Bowl Event Center in town.
The Admiral Twin will continue to show movies at night after hosting the flea market during the day on Saturdays.
The Tulsa World newspaper recently reported on the move:
918 Flea Market owner Blake Lund reached an agreement with Admiral Twin owner Blake Smith to stage Saturday “flea fests” at the Admiral Twin. The “flea fests” will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, freeing up the Admiral Twin for its primary use at night.
“It’s something I have kind of always wanted to do,” Smith said. “There are probably more drive-ins that do better with swap meets than with actual movies across the country. There are some that don’t even show movies anymore. They just use them as swap meets. So it seems like, in a way, a no-brainer. We have got all that space during the day. We have still got a mortgage to pay, so when Blake Lund came to me, I thought, ‘What a great idea.’ ”
Admission to the 918 Flea Market (named after the Tulsa region’s telephone area code) at the Admiral Twin will be free.
The drive-in opened in 1951, and its second screen was built a year later. The Admiral Twin sits off the older Admiral Place alignment of Route 66.
The Admiral Twin also served as an inspiration during a scene in Tulsa native S.E. Hinton’s best-selling novel, “The Outsiders” and the film version directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
The Rose Bowl is owned by One Hope Ministry, a local nonprofit organization. Lund rented the facility for 918 Flea Market for several weekends in January and March, but lack of parking remained an issue there.
The Rose Bowl at 7419 E. 11th St. (aka Route 66) was built as a bowling alley in 1961. It closed after two fires in 2005, and AMF slapped the facility with a non-compete clause, rendering it unable to be reopened as a bowling alley.
(Image of the Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa during its reopening in 2012)