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Airport Drive-In
2001 Jefferson Davis Hwy (US 1, adjacent to Washington National Airport), Arlington, Va.
650 cars
years of operation:
currently: part of Crystal City

Advertised capacity at opening was 1000 cars (which would have made it the largest drive-in between Pennsylvania and Florida), although later reference sources put the actual capacity at around 650. It was located in what was then a light industrial district; cars had to cross railroad tracks to enter the theatre, passing a screen tower that sported a neon airplane with an animated propeller. It was torn down along with most of the motels and junkyards along that stretch of Route One to make way for the massive Crystal City high-rise community.
   "My father Paul J. Foley owned and operated this drive-in. I have wonderful memories, especially about having carte blanche access to the snack bar when it was open and closed. Can you imagine all that candy??? Our snack bar had delicious Smithfield Bar-B-Que sandwiches and other choices such as Pepper Steak from Murry's Steaks.
   "It was also the place where my brother and I learned how to drive. When we would come during the daytime with my dad (guess he was counting the money??? ) we would drive around the 25 acres, hoping not to hit any poles.
   "But the coolest thing was going to the Theatre Owner's Association in Washington, D.C. It was a comfortable little theatre and one got to see the movies six months before they were released!
   "I believe that the last movie that played for the last two weeks was The Dirty Dozen and I think that I was there every night those last few weeks.
   "It was interesting that we lived in Hollywood, CA from 1955-1962 and my dad had his manager Bob Brown run the theatre in his absence."
-- Rex Paul Foley

Below are two photos of the Airport from spring 1949; thanks to Mr. Foley for contributing them.

Below: the opening night ad from September 8, 1947.

Click here for an interactive 1951 aerial photo of the drive-in.

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