Renovations begin on long-closed TeePee Drive-In theater in Sapulpa

The new owners of the historic TeePee Drive-In theater in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, have started renovations on the property and hope to reopen it by spring.

Joni Rogers-Kante of the Kante Group, which bought the property earlier this year, told News on 6 that her brother used to work in the ticket booth before the theater closed about 20 years ago.

She also said the TeePee “played a major role in the history of growth and development of this community” and wanted to bring it back.

Now, the Kante Group will spend millions of dollars to turn it into an entertainment venue for movies, concerts, events and more.
Rogers-Kante said plans include a playground, dining area, shopping and even 12 of Tulsa’s own refurbished 1950s Spartan trailers that people can rent.
“Hundreds of homes are being built as people are now moving into the area, and we want to make sure we have lots and lots of family-friendly activity,” said Rogers-Kante.
The vision comes with a lot of preparations: Sewage, fiber, electricity, roadwork and more.
Rogers-Kante said the group is preserving a lot of the original structures, including the original screen.

The video shows the property freshly mowed, vintage travel trailers parked nearby and a worker applying a new coat of paint to the screen. The Kante Group also is undertaking other projects around Sapulpa.

In 2012, a Florida-based operator attempted a lease-purchase agreement of the property with the intent to reopen it, and a bunch of volunteers pitched in to help clean up the property.

But he ditched the project after it was discovered he’d operated a series of failed or abandoned historic theaters across the country and used several aliases throughout. Also, there were liens against the property — keeping him from managing it.

Three years later, the property went up for sale for $275,000.

The TeePee was built in 1950. The last movie was shown there in 1999 or 2000.

(Image of the TeePee Drive-In near Sapulpa, Oklahoma, in 2012 by JymPoiranges via Flickr)

One thought on “Renovations begin on long-closed TeePee Drive-In theater in Sapulpa

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.