In 1956, William Oleksyns Drive In Theatres, Inc. opened a really nice drive-in, the Northland DI on N. Dort Hwy. between Stanley and Mt. Morris Roads in Genesee Twp. near the city of Mt. Morris. It was built on a portion of the Knickerbocker farm. It was indeed nice with only curved screen tower ever in the Flint MI area. It was a wooden tower sheated in corrugated metal on back side. In 1965, this and the other Oleksyn drive-ins were sold to W.S. Butterfield Theatres.
Because it was winter when the drive in was sold and because the Northland DI was developed as a year round drive in, Butterfield started with matinee showings to take advantage of the early sunsets in winter. The South Dort DI was also a year round drive in. But by the late 1970s, high energy prices (those in-car heaters had to be expensive to run) and a decline in the youth population led to the year round drive-ins closing up for the winter. At the end of 1984, The Butterfield theater operations were sold to the George Kerasotes Corp. The drive-ins were not included in the sale.
The Northland stayed open though, run by Arnold Stefanic who was a 25 year veteran of Butterfield at the time of the sale, keeping the Northland going for two more seasons before a decline in business forced its closing. In terms of booking movies, the single screen Northland was at a competitive disadvange compared with the two-screen Miracle Twin DI and the US23 Twin DI. Before the Northland DI gave way to a wholesale automobile auction lot around 1990, an arson fire destroyed the refreshment building.
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