The Barrel Drive-In was built by Jack Christensen from Thornton, IA in 1958. When Jack wanted to build a swimming pool in Mason City, he sold The Barrel to Ed and Lois Kotz around March, 1959. Kotz's moved to Clear Lake with their 10 years son, Ed, Jr.
The Kotz family ran the Barrel for many years. Ed Kotz, Jr and his family took it over from Ed and Lois. It was later sold to Tom Lincoln who hired a 14 year old, Seth Thackery as a car hop, who grew to become the line cook, assstant manager and manager.
In 2007, Tom sold The Barrel to Seth, who continues to operate The Barrel with an eye towards the future and a clear vision of restoring the iconic landmark into a place of memories, past and present.
With an aging building and change in eating trends, however, Seth soon realized that it was all he could do to keep the doors opened.
When Casey's General Store, a chain of convenience stores throughout the Midwest, indicated they were interested in purchasing the Barrel property "for the dirt", and not to preserve the landmark, Seth decided to ask for help.
"The outpouring of people offering their help has been phenomenal. People from across the United States, all with a tie to either Clear Lake or the Barrel, have to help. To me, this is not just land or dirt. This is a property close to my heart. I have a passion to see it last for another 60 years," says Seth.