between National Highway (US 40) & Braddock Rd., LaVale, Md.
capacity: 300-350 cars
years of operation: 1952-69
currently: McDonald's and Ruby Tuesday (north half of lot); US 40/I-68 interchange (south half)
Opened by Edgar Growden and Richard B. Young;
the two also designed the theater, which boasted the Cumberland area's first
concrete screen tower. Entrance was at US 40, exit onto Braddock Rd. Debut
feature on August 9, 1952 was The African Queen.
From the 1920s thru '40s, the site was Crystal Park and Ballroom, a popular
local amusement park.
"Glad to see the old Crystal is gone but not forgotten. My grandfather was Richard B (Benton) Young and he opened the drive-in as your article states. I was born in 1960 and grew up with my parents in a house adjacent to the drive-in. In fact, one childhood memory has me waking up scared in the middle of the night and walking next door to the snack bar to find my Mom and Dad.
"There are currently no drive-ins today in Cumberland, but I am sure with the 'right' financial backing a drive-in would go over there like gangbusters. Heck, if I had the $ I would return home to manage it myself. What a story that would make?" -- Dick Young
"I, Derek Benton Young, am the 2nd grandson of Richard Benton Young, former owner of the Crystal Drive-In and Skate Rink in LaVale, MD. I was born in 1970, the year after the drive-in was sold by my grandmother and I truly wish that we could've have kept it up and running; however, the state came into the picture and it was sold. They sold most of the land if not all it to the state so that they could build the highway, which I guess would now be Interstate 68. What a shame!!
"I would love to open a drive-in somewhere in the Western MD area because I feel that it could become very popular once again in this area. I still drive by the old site once in a while, and look down at the old red sidewalk that my brother used to ride his bike on (which is still there -- off to the side of the parking lot on the west side). The house that my grandparents and parents both lived in back then sat in very close proximity to where the McDonald's now sits.
"I would love to see some old pics and any other info. you may have!!!" -- Derek B. Young
Below is part of a 1966 aerial photo showing the drive-in.
Got some additional information, or some pictures
or stories about this drive-in
you'd like to share? Email me -- thanks!