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Edmondson Drive-In
Baltimore National Pike (US 40) just outside the Beltway, Catonsville, Md.
capacity: 950 cars (originally 1200)
years of operation
: 1954-91
currently: Home Depot

One of the last three operating drive-ins in the state when it was closed at the end of 1991. Founded by Baltimore native George Brehm as a 1200-car theatre, it shrank to 950 cars in 1965 when Brehm built the Westview Cinema on a corner of the property -- as it turns out, one of the earlier examples of a co-owned and -operated indoor/drive-in complex. (The Westview, which grew over time to 10 screens, closed in 1997; a Circuit City is there now.) In the early days, a 20-foot-high ferris wheel and a merry-go-round helped to attract drive-in-going families. From the early '70s onward the drive-in doubled as one of the area's most popular Sunday flea markets. It was immortalized on celluloid by hometown legend John Waters, who cast the Edmondson as an "art" theatre in his movie Polyester. Today, if you come here to stock up on tile and spackle or what have you, you'll find that the new occupants have at least been good enough to preserve the deco-ish marquee as the store's sign, with movie-themed ads for store specials on the letterboard.
"This DI was also featured in Barry Levinson's film Tin Men. There is a scene that takes place in the parking lot of the old Westview Cinema, which is dressed up to look like a bar, and the DI was seen in the background. I believe Tin Men was filmed in 1987." -- Robert Campain

Click here for an interactive 1964 aerial photo of the drive-in (zoom in or out, or compare to older or newer photos of the same site). The indoor theatre built the following year can be seen in the 1971 aerial.

here to see the 1974 USGS map depicting the Edmondson and surrounding area.

Photo taken May 1992.

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