5500 Leesburg Pike (VA 7), Baileys Crossroads, Va.
capacity: around 400 cars on a 6-acre lot
years of operation: 1949-74
currently: Value City Furniture and DSW Shoe Warehouse (was a Hechinger home-improvement center until that chain went out of business in 1999)
One of the Washington area's smaller drive-ins, by the early '70s it had fallen on hard times and resorted to (softcore) X-rated movies to turn a profit. Since the screen could be seen from some nearby apartments, and by kids who congregated in an adjacent parking lot, this policy led to its eventually being shut down by the authorities in about April 1974, and it was replaced that year by the Hechinger store.
Click here for an oblique aerial photo taken circa the early 1960s of the Washington-Virginia Airport, which occupied the current site of Skyline City. The drive-in with its 42-foot-high screen is shown just beyond the end of the north runway (which made for some entertaining nighttime approaches). Thanks to Stu Megaw for sending it in. More information on this and the other vanished airports of Fairfax County and Virginia can be found on this page.
Below is a vertical aerial photo of the Sunset from 1966. By this time it was already flanked by two shopping centers, emblematic of the dense commercial development that would, no doubt, help spell the drive-in's doom.
Courtesy of Richard Webb, here are some vintage handbills showing upcoming features at the Sunset, from fall 1970 and winter/spring 1971. Including some of the kind of movies that got them in trouble...
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or stories about this drive-in
you'd like to share? Email me -- thanks!