Stardust 17 Drive-In

In the course of his travels, Terry stumbled upon the Stardust 17 Drive-In on the west side of Grafton.  The Stardust held 300 cars and hosted movie showings for decades. According to one online account, the Stardust 17’s screen blew down in a windstorm in October of 1991.  There were some initial discussions about getting the drive-in going again, but cost put the brakes on a recovery.  When we visited in 2011, the theater had been idle for years.

We found the place in a state of disrepair.  All of the window speakers were gone.  The concession stand’s roof was caving in, and the ticket booth had deteriorated significantly.

The marquee out front is from the Strand Twin Theater in Grafton.

The Lake Park Drive-In in Williston, which was the last operating Drive-In in the state, is now closed, leaving North Dakota with no more operating drive-ins. See this post for a list of operating Drive-In Theaters near North Dakota.

Update: we’re told the remains of the screen were taken down a couple years ago. The Stardust 17 is no more.

A couple years later, we visited another vacant Drive-In Theater, the Pineview Drive-In in Nebraska.

We were left with a nostalgic desire to attend a showing at a drive-in movie.  If anybody has more information on the history of this place, please leave your comments below.

Read more about the Stardust 17 and other Drive-In movie theaters here.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

19 Responses to “Stardust 17 Drive-In”
  1. Tom Pence says:

    Good pictures. I can envision the speaker hanging on the window watching a double-feature.

  2. Vanessa says:

    Would like to see the drive in movies brought back!!!
    I have never been to one.

  3. Sharyl says:

    I attended many movies all though high school at this drive! I even remember the grand opening…it was quite a spectacle! Too bad it was never restored. Lots of great memories.

  4. shiela says:

    Drive-ins are the best. There is on that is still open in warren MN. For those who don’t want to drive that far. My mom use to bring my sister and me to the dusk till dawn nights loved those nights cuz we got to stay up it morning.

  5. jason klinnert says:

    If you want to go to a drive in movie, just go to the sky-view drive in in Warren MN, not that far from grafton or grand forks or crookston. they don’t have window speakers anymore, they use the fm radio for the movie audio.

  6. james f summers says:

    I remember working at both the Strand and the Stardust back in 1980 to 1986. The Stardusk was packed in for the dusk to dawn movies

  7. Marie says:

    Guys – My late Mom lived in Grafton for several years, and we spent lots of time there. I had no idea that there used to be a drive-in theatre. Again, you’ve wowed me.

    Your website is super, the writing is fantastic, and the photos are superb. Congrats!

    Hope you are both well.


  8. Keith Novak says:

    This is the Historic Drive Inn where I discovered beer, friends, and girls. Many memories of long ago…

  9. The Strand Twin is a theater in downtown Grafton. They were just using the sign to advertise what movies were playing.

  10. Mysterious One says:

    Unfortunately, the Lake Park Drive-In, Williston ND, closed fall of 2011. :-(

  11. Ted Green says:

    Just a side note late this fall they took down the rest of the movie screen so that portion of the landmark and history is now gone.

  12. Doug Johnson says:

    The Starlite in Litchfield, MN was recently purchased by the Quincers of Wadena, MN, the operators of the Cozy theater in that city and of the former Wadena Drive-In theater. It’s my understanding that they intend to continue operating the Starlite.

  13. Dave says:

    One of the advantages of moving to the Twin Cities I guess- there’s at least 2 drive-in’s within an hour drive. We try to go at least one time each summer. We saw Mission Impossible this summer! :)

  14. Jen Holt Enriquez says:

    I watched so many movies there… And took full advantage of the Thursday night $5 /car deal many times. Besides being the landmark for the turn off of hwy 17 to our family farm 2 miles north, Stardust 17 was part of my coming of age. Dusk ’till dawn!!

  15. Katie says:

    If you were in grafton nd, there was a drive in still operating as of two years ago less than a 30min drive from there. It’s in Warren Minnesota and I took my in-laws to see wolverine in summer 2013. I grew up in grafton and remember going to the old drive-in before that storm. They used to do dusk to dawn films and I can remember see snow white there- I was quite young then.

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  1. […] We took these photos in August of 2011 and in the fall of 2012, they took down what remains of the screen at Stardust 17, the drive-in theater outside of Grafton, North Dakota. […]

  2. […] photographed the remains of another drive-in, Stardust 17 in North Dakota a few years […]

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