Paul Bunyan Drive-In - Michigandriveins.com

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Paul Bunyan Drive-In Theater
Hubbard Lake Michigan
Michigan Drive-In Theaters - Michigandriveins.com
Name: Paul Bunyan Drive-In
Address: Hubbard Lake Rd. & Hurbert Rd. Hubbard Lake, MI 49747
County: Alcona
Open Date: 8/49?
Close Date: 1966 or 68?
Reopened: 1975-76?
Status: Demolished
Car Capacity: 200
Screen Count: 1
Owners: Lou Kramer - Ross Mulholland
Submit: Info On This Drive-In
Aka: Skyvue Drive-In
Notes: n/a
Paul Bunyan Drive-In

Paul Bunyan Drive-In Theater
History & Comments

News Article: Twister Flattens Drive-In Screen -- The tornado which struck the Hubbard Lake area at 2:50 p.m. Sunday left only the Norway pine supports standing after it hit the screen at the Paul Bunyan Drive-in theater. Owner Lou Kramer, who said he thought his nearby home was "going to go, too", reported that the twister toppled the screen after ripping out concrete moorings which had been embedded six feet in the ground. Several steel cables were ripped loose, others were snapped, and the force of the blast straightened out hooks on steel rungs which were sunk in the ground to secure guy wires. The screen measured 45 by 70 feet. Kramer said, and the loss was partially covered by insurance. Clean-up was begun this morning, and a new screen will be erected as soon as possible. The ticket booth at the theater was moved six inches, and a 20 by 20 sign at the east end of the property-welcoming visitors to the drive-in and Hubbard Lake-was blown down. (Hubbard Lake News 7/2/56)

Update: The Paul Bunyan screen tower, in Hubbard Lake, was destroyed by a tornado on Sunday, July 1, 1956. The news clipping I have said they were going to rebuild. (Dave Rouleau 1/16/00)

Update: The almanacs, which have been known to be inaccurate, indicate there were two drive-ins in Hubbard Lake between 1967 and 1972. They were the Sky-Vue (or Sky-View) Drive-In, and the Paul Bunyan Drive-In. These two may have been one and the same, it is still unclear at this point. The more-accurate Theatre Catalog lists only one in the 1952 issue, the "Paul Bunyon Sky-Vue D.I." (Michigandriveins.com 6/9/03)

Update: Paul Bunyan Drive-In was on corner of Hubert or Hurbert Rd, aka County Line Rd., and Bear Springs Rd. in Hubbard Lake, Alcona County. It was torn down in about 1970. Was owned by Lou Kramer. Caledonia Township Library is approximately where entrance of Drive-In once was. (Ron racenstuff@hotmail.com 1/24/03)

Update: The location of this drive-in has been reported to be on the southeast corner of Hurbert and Hubbard Lake Rd. Although this would appear to be correct from the topo and the aerial photo, the actual cross streets is Hurbert (also known as Hubert, depending on what sign you read!) and Bear Springs, adjacent to what is now the Hubbard Lake Library. This was per 3 local residents of Hubbard Lake. So, although the maps and topos are POSITIONALLY CORRECT, as in the lot was at the intersection as it appears from the air, Hurbert and Hubbard Lake roads are actually a mile away from where the DI actually was, which is in downtown Hubbard Lake. (Waterwinterwonderland.com 11/4/03)

Update: Although the Paul Bunyan screen tower was destroyed by a tornado in early April of 1956, ads began appearing within a couple of weeks in the paper stating that "The Show Must Go On," with movies listed. So, it is clear that the Paul Bunyan lived on after the destruction of the tower. (Waterwinterwonderland.com 2/2/04)

Update: The building where Caledonia Township Branch Library is located is the former Joy Gift Shop building opened 1946 thru 1982; by Lou and Hazlett Kramer, retired business persons, who became an integral part of the area. They ran a real estate office, and had a giftshop offering drug and health sundries. They were very active and took the lead in most of the community affairs. They were both born in 1890s and she lived to be over 100. The drive-in was started by Ross Mulholland, a distinguished member of th WJR Radio team. The Kramers purchased it in 1949 and closed it in 1968. The location of the field was East of the Joy Gift Shop. This property was listed in the 1977 Plat Book For Alcona County, Caledonia Township, as Hubbard View Est. Hubert Road is the division of Alpena County to the North and Alcona County to the South. The Screen was just East of the Joy Gift Shop, facing East. There was a small snack shop and concession stand beneath the screen, and in the space in front of the screen were benches and places for the people to set up folding chairs etc. The viewers sat in their cars, no elevation, just up to the posts holding the speakers. Very primitive but a great draw for the vacationers and residents of this rural area. Alpena at the time had no drive-ins, I am not certain whether Oscoda had any, possibly with Wurtsmith AFB being located there, it may have been possible. Anyway, it was quite an attraction. (Waterwinterwonderland.com/Alcona County Library 4/23/04)

Update: I moved to Hubbard Lake about 18 years ago with my husband and our son. My family have been summer visitors since 1941. Every time we came up north my brother and I would pester our parents to take us to the Paul Bunyan Drive-In. The playbill for the drive-in was posted on a tree in our subdivision, Scott Park. A walk to check out the coming attractions was always one of our first activities upon arriving. I remember that the movies would speed up, so that by the end of a John Wayne movie, he would sound like Shirley Temple. Then there was the refreshment stand where condiments cost extra. Sometimes fog would roll in off the lake, obscuring the screen and making the drive home hazardous. I never go by that corner without remembering the Paul Bunyan Drive-In and its part in the wonderful summers I spent at Hubbard Lake. (Waterwinterwonderland.com/Carol Stevens 4/23/04)

Update: I have been coming Hubbard Lake since 1954 and vividly remember the glorious Paul Bunyan drive-in. We had a cabin on the east shore of Hubbard Lake in Scott Park, lost through a shady business deal, and used to walk down the road to a poster fastened to a tree to see what movies were playing. The drive home at night was always exciting because in the 1950's there weren't many people there and the tall, thick forests of trees made the drive more memorable. Someone ought to rebuild the Paul Bunyan. (Waterwinterwonderland.com/Marc Vlasic 12/28/06)

Update: FYI...the Hubbard Lake Drive-in re-opened in approximately 1975 or 1976, for only one season, I believe, then closed back up permanently. Lots of kids around then...those were the days!!!(Waterwinterwonderland.com/Julie Mathewson 3/27/07)

Update: I was Born and raised in Hubbard Lake and lived across the street from the Paul Bunyan Drive in and I have the following information. The Paul Bunyan theater was not the first outdoor theater in Hubbard Lake but the third. The first was 1/2 mile North of Hubbard Lake Corners and Next to Cedar Grove Tavern which is still there. It was built by a man by the name of Con Merek amd I believe lasted only one year. The second theater was the Sky Vue Theater and was built by Ross Mulholland and once again was there for only one year or two. This Theater was located in Alpena County on Hubbard Lake Road and in the field just North of Diamond''s store across from the Stone Bar. Then at some time Ross and Lou Kramer got together and Built the Paul Bunyon theater accross the road and in Alcona county. Lou the buying out Ross almost immediately. Yes it sat on the corner of Bear Springs and Hurbert rd. south of Hurbert and east of Bear Springs on property that at one time was a Farm belong to a Bougie family. I have a picture of the property with the barn still on it though the Joy Gift Shop was there. Because this is a county line Hubbard Lake rd. changes to Bear Springs road in Alcona co. The actual town of Hubbard Lake is one mile north on Hubbard Lake road because the Post Office is there. My father built and operated the Mobil Station across the street from Kramer''s and we were good. friends. (Waterwinterwonderland.com/Gary K Dagenais 11/25/08)


Paul Bunyan Drive-In Theater Gallery
Click Thumbnails For Large Images
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Season Opening Ad 4/20/56
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Ad summer 1956
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Post-storm ad July 1956
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News article 7/2/56
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Screen after storm 7/2/56
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Former site aerial 1971
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Former site 2003
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Google Image
Former site 2009
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Former site
aerial 2012


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