1982: Lafayette Road Outdoor Theater razed to make way for shopping plaza

Posted at 5:26 AM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 13:58:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS — For nearly three decades, Hoosier moviegoers flocked to the Lafayette Road Outdoor Theater.

The drive-in was located on a 19-acre site nestled between Georgetown and Lafayette Roads, just north of 38th Street. It opened in August 1953, showing films like “Invasion, U.S.A.” and “Siren of Bagdad.”

But like all films, the end comes sooner or later.

The Lafayette Road Outdoor Theater had its final showings in June 1982 showing movies like “Goin’ All The Way” and “The Beach Girls.”

WRTV reporter Phil Ponce talked with disappointed customers about the theater’s closing.

“I think it ought to stay open,” said one man. “It’s one of the few that’s really close around here.”

Another customer had a more pragmatic reaction.

“If they make money with it, they should keep it open. But if they don’t, put the land to better use.”

Ultimately, the decision to close the theater came down to land use. Developers saw the parcel’s traffic volume as an opportunity to build a shopping plaza.

The Northwest Marketplace shopping plaza at 4620 West 38th Street now stands where the Lafayette Road Outdoor Theater once stood.