Chick Inn Diner
Marker Text: Mass production of the automobile ushered in an era of business expansion and increased mobility. Food stands and booths quickly appeared along roadways for hungry motorists. These stands eventually evolved into the drive-in, complete with curb service. Automobile-related businesses multiplied greatly after World War II. By the 1950s, drive-in diners were a symbol of youth and often were the nucleus of social activity, especially in rural areas. In 1950, W.H. Kemper and R.A. Doberrer acquired a lot on the outskirts of Winters and constructed a small, wood-frame structure which they named El Rancho Drive-in. It was laid out with parking spaces on the north and south sides, encircled by an asphalt drive. A small screen lean-to was attached to the south façade for car hops to place orders. After only a few months, they sold the restaurant to a local couple who changed the name to the Chick Inn.
From the day of its opening, the chick inn was a gathering place for young people in the community. Many residents recall fond memories of “making the drag” around the drive-in and enjoying burgers, shakes and fountain drinks. On weekends, the Chick Inn parking lot would be near capacity, with as many or more people “hanging out” outside. For over thirty years, the drive-in and diner was a cultural icon for the Winters community. On March 14, 1982, a tornado touched down south of Winters and began a path toward the Chick Inn. Homes and businesses were destroyed, and the damage to the drive-in was so extensive the building was demolished. Gone but not forgotten, the Chick Inn’s history and importance to generations of Winters residents will remain. (2013)
Marker No. 17593
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 31° 56.502′ N, 99° 57.783′ W
Location: South Main Street (U.S. 83) 0.2 miles south of County Road 385, on the right when traveling south, Winters