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HISTORY & CULTURE

Long before the days as a drive-in theater, the area was originally inhabited by the native Coahutecan tribe. This community comprises one of the oldest parts of San Antonio, with a long history dating to prehistoric times. People have been gathering on these grounds for thousands of years.

In 1720, Franciscans priests founded Mission San Jose along the San Antonio River, the lifeblood of the city. At the same time, the priests also built the San Jose dam to reroute water into the San Jose acequia, a community-operated water channel used for irrigation.

The Mission Drive-In Theater opened on March 27, 1948, with a 77-minute long Western – Pirates of Monterey. In 2000, after a run of more than half a century, the Mission was the last drive-in theater in San Antonio to go dark. It was reopened by Cinemark on May 25, 2001 with four screens and continued service through 2003.

In 2007, the Mission Drive-In property was acquired by the City of San Antonio and is currently managed as an arts & culture facility by the City of San Antonio World Heritage Office (WHO).  On June 14, 2014, Mission Marquee Plaza officially opened its doors for the next generation of nearby Southside families and all of San Antonio to enjoy.

Restoration

In January 2013 the Mission Drive-In Marquee Mural Re-Creation Project was completed by the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture. The mural re-creation work included researching the original mural, including sign lettering and lighting, proposing a re-creation of these components in a manner that complies with historic preservation standards, and finally, fabricating and constructing these components. The removal of the screen exposed the original stucco wall, which allowed this historical monument to be restored to its original condition.

Awards

2016 SA Conservation Society as Build Award
The San Antonio Conservation Society recognized Mission Marquee Plaza with a Building Award for the City of San Antonio’s efforts on restoring the drive-in theater.

2017 San Antonio Current Best of San Antonio
The Mission Marquee Plaza was voted winner by the San Antonio Current’s “Best of SA 2017 Contest” for Place to Watch a Movie Outside.