The Sara-Placid Drive-in theater opened in 1950, operated by Edward Hoffman and Ernie Stautner. It was owned for a time by bobsledder Gil Jones. It's last season was the summer of 1970.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 25, 1952

Drive-in Re-opens At Dusk Tonight

The Sara-Placid Drive-in Theater will open its third season at dusk tonight. The managers have announced a double feature bill, "Santa Fe" and "Pygmy Island", as the opening offering.

Workmen have been busy the past several weeks cleaning up winter's traces at the theater. All is in readiness for the new season. The Drive-in is located on Route 86, halfway between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, February 6, 1969 – The following is an editor's note to a story about Ernie Stautner being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ernie Stautner is well known in Saranac Lake. For many years the big Bavarian ran the Sara- Placid Drive-In Theater during the Summers, even while he was starring for the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 19, 1974

Anthony Pellegrini has sold Sara-Placid Drive-in Theater on Route 86 at Ray Brook to the State Department of Environmental Conservation. The Wilkins Agency was the realtor.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 13, 1974

Petty stresses people needs for drive-in

By PHIL GALLOS

RAY BROOK — The future of the old Sara-Placid Drive-in theater, now owned by the State of New York, remains a blank slate as members of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Adirondack Park Agency (APA), and others mull over the problem of how to handle the property for the greatest benefit of the people of the state.

The 25-acre parcel was owned by Anthony Pellegrini of Saranac Lake and Edward Hoffman of Troy before it was sold to the state.

Pellegrini owned 13 acres, while Hoffman owned an adjoining eleven acres. The Pellegrini parcel changed hands July 2 for $84,600; and the Hoffman parcel changed hands August 13 for $66,700.

The property was zoned Retail Commercial by the Town of North Elba, and the owners had made several attempts to sell it to potential shopping center developers before approaching the state.

DEC Region Five Director Bill Petty remarked that he had a number of men at the APA working on the problem of what to do with the property and had also asked the Department of Transportation for advice.

His own ideas about the property include the planting of groups of native species of trees and shrubs interlaced with nature paths in an arboretum type setting, possibly with picnic tables, etc.

Mr. Petty also mentioned the possibility of turning one of the buildings into an information center which would help divert the flow of tourists from overcrowded areas like the High Peaks to accessible but less popular beauty spots in the area.

An old, dismantled fire tower might be re-erected where the theater screen presently stands, Mr. Petty added. A tower at that spot would command extensive views to the south, southwest, and west.

If visitors wanted an even better view and were willing to walk a little, a trail could be cut to the ledges on Hennessy Mountain which rises to the rear of the property.

Mr. Petty said that many would like to see the new state acquisition completely covered with trees to match the surrounding forest. He stressed the point, however, that too often the human aspect is ignored in state plans for forest lands.

"We tend to forget about people," Mr. Petty said, adding that he "would like to see a place where a visitor can stop and learn something about the forest and how we take care of it and how it takes care of itself, or where he can stop and just rest his weary bones."

Mr. Petty commented that he hadn't received any feedback from Albany on his ideas, and that the activity at the drive-in at the present time is merely temporary as the property is being used as a holding area for the equipment and materials needed to renovate Route 86.

Mr. Petty remarked that he would welcome any constructive advice on how to best utilize the drive-in lands.

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