4/29/20: The question on everyone's mind (if you're reading this): when are the drive-ins opening back up? While various parts of the US have seen some of their outdoor theaters open and enjoying a huge windfall of business, the drive-in screens in this region have been dimmed, for the most part, until very recently. This weekend, the Family, Goochland and Twin City launch their seasons (or re-launch in the Family's case); the Central and Park Place are already open. All will be enforcing COVID-19 safety measures to varying degrees; see theater websites or Facebook pages for details. These measures may include double spacing of cars, online-only ticket and food purchasing (or snackbars closed entirely), limited restroom occupancy, and more.
3/12/20: The spring drive-in season shows its first stirrings regionally with Hull's (March 14 with The Goonies) and the Family opening this weekend. It bears mentioning that the Family and Raleigh Road now have online options for food ordering, for those who wish to minimize their time in crowded snack bars.
2/7/20: When the Eden Drive-In reopens in March, it will do so as the newest twin-screen outdoor theater in the region. The Eden Facebook page has photos of the clearing and grading of the new lot, which began last July.
1/6/20: Southern Pennsylvania's iconic Haar's Drive-In enters the new decade with its future in doubt, as landlord Giant Food Stores has decided to put the property up for sale. Asking price: $2.2 million for the property which also hosts a long-standing auction business. The family-owned theater still expects to open for the 2020 season.
4/19/18: When the Starlite installed a new sound system in 2016, the owners never imagined that this move would become a threat to the theater's future. However, persistent complaints from neighbors about noise levels have led to an imminent Christiansburg town council vote, scheduled for April 24, on a town-wide noise ordinance that may effectively lead to the Starlite's shutdown. The Starlite website has the details, and fans are urged to (respectfully) voice their support at the meeting. Incidentally, they open tonight with 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Black Panther over the weekend.
• In better news, The Grove is up and running at the Goochland. The concept is unique for a drive-in in that it's, well, largely not a "drive-in". While there will be a few old-fashioned car viewing spots, the lot is mainly open lawn, with built-in, ambient in-ground speakers for more of a "picnic" atmosphere. So if you're planning to see I Can Only Imagine and The Miracle Season at this weekend's debut, lawn chairs and/or blankets are advisable. Boombox, though, not useful.
2/24/17: Thinking the current balmy weather in this region would be really nice for a drive-in to open up and show some movies? You're not alone, which is why the Raleigh Road is beginning its season early, opening this weekend with Sing and Split. More season launches in VA and NC are soon to follow: the Eden (March 3), Hull's (March 10) and the Family and Goochland (both March 17). As for the Goochland, its big screen is about to get a little sister: in May, a second screen will open called "The Grove", complete with a separate snackbar and restrooms.
• After that good news, some bad: the reopening of the Moonlite Theatre for 2017 is on hold indefinitely. As laid out by owner Kyle Blevins on the drive-in's Facebook page, his business partner (and previous owner) William Booker "had a medical setback and has now decided not to fulfill his agreement" to allow the project to proceed. Blevins holds out little hope for change, short of action by the courts.
10/10/16: In just over a month, another drive-in in the Virginias has been saved from oblivion. When we last checked with the Moonlite Theatre in Abingdon, the renowned drive-in was in a state of dormancy, disrepair and decay; the property was for sale and more likely destined for a future as a Holiday Inn Express than a working movie theater. Under our noses, though, this happened: a man named Kyle Blevins purchased the drive-in, and is in the finishing stages of getting it ready to reopen for the first time in three years. On October 1, a ceremonial re-lighting of the screen tower neon was held (see it on their Facebook page), and this Friday thru Sunday, Sully and Star Trek Beyond will display on the Moonlite screen. A Gofundme page has been set up to help with upcoming expenses, including restoration of the classic neon and an essential digital conversion.
8/31/16: WARNER'S UPDATE: Thanks to a huge outpouring of support from both inside and outside Pendleton County, Warner's has cleared the digital hurdle and is re-opening September 9 and 10 with Finding Dory. WDI points out that future rounds of fundraising will be needed in order for the property to be purchased, as well as projects such as construction of a stage beneath the screen.
8/3/16: Update on the Mayberry: the property is on the market with RE/MAX Lakefront Realty, listed at $399,900 at last report.
5/29/16: In Franklin, WV, where Warner's Drive-In has been shuttered since late 2014 due to lack of financial wherewithal to upgrade to digital projection, a group of locals have organized to revive the theater. Taking a page from the Hull's story, the Warner-Drive-In Cultural and Resource Center, or WDI, has signed a two-year lease/purchase agreement with the drive-in's owners, and is raising money (PayPal link on site) to both buy the property and install a new projector along with other needed upgrades.
5/12/16: The long-awaited relocation and rebirth of Manassas' Old Dominion Speedway has been completed. Now found off I-95 in Thornburg, south of Fredericksburg, the Dominion Raceway and Entertainment complex will host, among other events (besides racing), drive-in movie nights in the main track area. The first one is tonight, May 12, with The Incredibles showing at 6:30; gates open at 5, and drive-in parking capacity is limited to the first 125 cars, although bleacher and lawn seating are also available. Admission is $5 for ages 3 and up, with an additional $5/car parking fee.
3/22/16: With this weekend's release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Goochland and Cumberland are opening their gates this weekend, joing several others including the Family, Hull's and Bengies that are already open and several more aiming at season openings in the next several weeks. Sadly, it appears the Mayberry will not be among that number. The drive-in soldiered through the 2015 season after a fire devastated the diner portion of the complex. This year, though, their status on Facebook is listed as "permanently closed" and their website is inactive.
• Meanwhile, for the entrepreneurs reading this, the owners of the now-shuttered Keysville have put it up for lease. More details are on the drive-in's new Facebook page, or via email.
4/17/15: The Moonlite Theatre has been "reluctantly" placed on the market. Owner William Booker is asking $1.75 million for the drive-in, which failed to open in 2014 due to mounting operating expenses including the necessary but out-of-reach purchase of a digital projector. Meanwhile he holds out hope that private or governmental grants might keep the theatre, one of a small handful on the National Register of Historic Places, running.
8/29/14: Warner's Drive-In has reached the end of the 35mm road and is closed, for the season at least. Their last shows were to have been this weekend, but they could not get any more film prints of current movies. They do not have any present plans to go digital.
8/28/14: Another too-short summer at the drive-ins closes out this Labor Day weekend, including dusk-to-dawn shows at not one but two of the region's outdoor theatres. In addition to the Bengies on Saturday and Sunday nights, the Family is showing its first ever (as far as we know) all-night programs -- both screens, Friday thru Sunday nights. In Pennsylvania, Haar's will be running its last shows of the season this weekend.
7/30/14: Finally, the Raleigh Road announces that it will very soon be making the digital leap. With that, all drive-ins on our map will be digital, except for the Moonlite, which is sitting out this season, Keysville and Warner's.
6/22/14: Hey everybody -- the interactive drive-in map is updated and working again, and with much improved capabilities!
6/19/14: The Cumberland becomes digital on June 26, just in time for the latest Transformers movie.
6/14/14: Just added to the list of Buffett venues: the Eden.
• An important addendum to the below item: 10 percent of the proceeds will go toward helping drive-ins which continue struggling to afford the switch to digital projection.
• One great benefit of going digital is that a drive-in can take part in events like this: on June 19, Jimmy Buffett will be performing live from the Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth, Texas, which will be beamed exclusively to digitally-equipped drive-ins all over America: In this region, the concert plays at Haar's, Bengies, Family, Hull's, Central, Park Place and Mayberry. Tickets are available online at liveatthedrivein.com or through your participating drive-in (see its website for more details).
4/9/14: The Bengies opens for the season this weekend, as the drama continues in the courts over Royal Farms and the drive-in's sought-for ambient-light-blocking fence.
4/2/14: News this week is mostly good but a little mixed. The Pipestem has its new digital equipment installed and is aiming for an early May opening, while the Central is in the midst of its own remodel/installation. The Park Place starts its new season this weekend, as does the Cumberland, which for now is still running 35mm film. The Keysville, however, will not be reopening this year, at least under its current operators who have their hands full trying to get their Raleigh Road Drive-In upgraded.
11/6/13: The Eden has joined the digital club, and debuts it this Friday night with the new Thor: The Dark World.
10/10/13: The Central ends its season after this weekend; over the winter, they are hosting a fund-raising drive via GoFundMe to raise the $75,000 needed for a loan to convert to digital. Meanwhile, the Park Place has launched a second raffle for an ATV in order to make its conversion.
9/13/13: Hull's is closed for the next two weekends in order to install a new screen, the last phase in its digital revamp.
8/17/13: It's not news that many drive-ins, including in this region, are in danger of going out of business due to the mandated switchover to digital projection. Auto maker Honda is pitching in with a promotion called Project Drive-In, which invites people to vote for their favorite drive-in to be among the five that will receive an $80,000 projection system free of charge. In our region, the Raleigh Road, Keysville, Mayberry and Cumberland (and now the Central) are among the nationwide array of eligible drive-ins. Voting is open until September 9, and users can vote twice per day, once via Web and once via text message. Visitors can also help in other ways, including contributing money and downloading social media materials.
Direct links to vote: Raleigh Road Keysville Mayberry Cumberland Central
8/2/13: We're very saddened to hear of the passing of Megan Morris, co-owner with her husband Jim Kopp of the Family Drive-In, on July 28, at age 60 after a long illness. Her obituary can be seen here. She was one of the stars of the Going Attractions drive-in documentary, and the Saturday night (July 27) Bengies triple feature which included Going Attractions was dedicated to her.
7/24/13: Special event this weekend at the Bengies: the new documentary about drive-in theatres, Going Attractions, will be the centerpiece of Friday and Saturday's triple feature with Despicable Me 2 and R.I.P.D.. The director, April Wright, will be on hand to discuss the film and sign copies of the DVD which will be on sale in the snack bar.
• Tonight (Wednesday), jump in the DeLorean and head out to Hull's for their "80s Night" showing of Back to the Future -- admission $10 per carload.
• As hoped for, the Family has made it over the digital hump. Two new Christie DLP projectors will be installed and begin operation the week of August 5.
7/4/13: As we point out on our welcome page, Washington, D.C. itself has never actually had a drive-in theatre -- until now. Well, kind of... D.C. Drive-In launches July 12 in the parking lot of Union Market (in Northeast, opposite Gallaudet University). Admission is free, and on Friday nights through August 2 a lineup of DC-themed movies such as Dr. Strangelove and The American President will be shown on the Market's three-story wall, with roller-skating carhops delivering refreshments for that retro touch. No car? There's a picnic area set aside for walk- and bike-ins. And don't forget, Starlight Cinema returns to Centreville, Va. Saturday nights in August, kid-friendly and also free of charge.
6/5/13: As promised (see 3/5/11 item below) the Bengies makes the upgrade to digital this weekend. Fear not, the vintage ads and trailers will continue to be shown, so film projection is also sticking around. They join Haar's, Goochland, Hull's and Starlite which so far have successfully gone digital.
4/3/13: The Bengies has suffered a setback in its legal travails with Royal Farms (see 7/1/12 item below), as a judge overturned the jury verdict favoring Bengies in September; they are currently appealing this decision. They open for the season this Friday night with a triple feature.
3/8/13: Hard to believe, but the 2013 season is upon us already! Several of the region's drive-ins are open already (see the interactive map) and several more will light up in the next couple weeks, including Hull's (March 15), the Family (March 22), and the Goochland, which will be debuting its digital projection system on March 22. The Mayberry states that it too will go digital "within the next year".
11/1/12: Like all theatres, the Family and Park Place drive-ins are facing the imminent industry switchover from 35mm film to Digital Cinema, as film is expected to be phased out sometime in the middle of 2013. Given the daunting costs (around $70,000 per screen), this is a hardship for many drive-ins and independent theatres, and while the two-screen Family does plan to make the upgrade, they are somewhat short of the needed cash, and are going all out with a "Help Us Go Digital" drive (information and Paypal link here). The Park Place is holding a similar drive, with contribution links at their website, including raffle tickets for sale to win a 2012 Harley-Davidson.
7/1/12: Victory comes to the Bengies in their years-long battle with Royal Farms (see 4/13/09 item below) over ambient light from their store across Eastern Boulevard. A jury awarded the drive-in over $800,000 (pending likely appeals) which will pay for a fence to keep the light out. From here, plans to build a second screen can eventually go forward as well.
6/27/12: This weekend, Hull's becomes the next drive-in to make the move to digital projection, with Men in Black 3 leading its double feature. Hull's still urges its supporters to help raise funds toward defraying the considerable conversion costs.
5/17/12: And the region's first drive-in to graduate to digital projection is (drumroll)... the Starlite, which breaks in its new DLP projector this opening Friday with The Three Stooges. Warner's also begins its season this weekend.
12/20/11: The Raleigh Road has been sold to Mark and Jennifer Frank, whose Keysville will be its sister drive-in.
8/17/11: The Washington Post profiles Jim and Megan Kopp, proprietors of the Family and Raleigh Road drive-ins.
7/5/11: Goochland Drive-In owners John and Kristina Heidel are interviewed by RichmondBizSense.com, and let slip that their theatre has been so successful that they just may build another one, somewhere in Virginia!
6/28/11: Ready for "The Scrambler"? "King Swing"? The folks at the Mayberry are thinking big again, announcing plans to add a set of five retro-ish amusement rides to their flicks-and-food complex. If things go as planned (and advertised) they should be installed and running this weekend.
6/8/11: Great news: the Fork Union IS back, for this year at least. Kung Fu Panda 2 and Thor kick the season off this Friday.
5/26/11: Well, this is something new. IMAX on the drive-in screen? Raleigh Road is showing Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in that format, which as far as we're aware is the first time this has been done at a drive-in anywhere. In other news, Bengies has its annual Memorial Day dusk-to-dawn shows on Saturday and Sunday nights this weekend.
5/23/11: Note that the rate/comment section for each open drive-in has been edited so that the most recent comments are sorted first.
5/13/11: Troubling message from the Fork Union Facebook page: "Due to the passing of the owner of the Fork Union Drive-In we are still waiting to hear about its future. Thank you for your patience!" Frayser F. White, who built the drive-in in 1953, died in January; his daughter, Stephanie Armistead, has been operating it for the last few years. His online obituary is here.
3/15/11: The Bengies opens for the season this Friday. They also announce that, starting next year, they will be one of the first drive-ins in America to switch from film to digital projection.
3/14/11: The ever civic-minded Goochland -- the county's 2010 Business of the Year, didn'tcha know -- opens March 25 (raindate March 26) for a showing of Space Jam benefiting a local elementary-school PTA. Oh by the way, check out the bang-up redesign of their website.
2/2/11: Gorgeous color photo of the Baltimore area's Pulaski marquee found online.
9/10/10: We've discovered a great online photo of the old Mt. Vernon Drive-in -- the way it looked not long after its 1938 opening to viewers of its old-style screen.
4/26/10: For the first time in its 54 years, the Family will be opening this season under new management -- the same as the Raleigh Road. Their website has moved here.
• For the first time in its history, the Starlite will have FM stereo sound in addition to its speakers, which will be in use for the opening-weekend showings of Shrek Forever After.
3/23/10: !!! The 55-year history of the Bright Leaf Drive-In has come to an abrupt end. The lease expired and is not being renewed, and the theatre is out of business as of now. The operators are selling all of the drive-in equipment -- see their website for contact info.
12/26/09: Enjoy a rare view of the screen tower of Fairfax's Super 29, as seen from the adjacent Old Virginia City theme park.
11/13/09: Some reassuring Moonlite news: owner William Booker says that the drive-in isn't in danger of closing, but concedes that it could definitely use some fixing-up.
11/5/09: We now have the real story on the Moonlite, and it falls between the two scenarios below. The economic downturn and declining attendance have put a question mark on its prospects to open next year, and the owner is appealing to both lawmakers and the public to help save the drive-in. Hmm... Hull's Angels 2, anyone?
10/29/09: !!! GoTriCities.com is reporting that Virginia's oldest drive-in, the storied Moonlite Theatre, has gone out of business after 60 years. And the Route 11 corridor is a more joyless place tonight... More information as we get it in.
UPDATED 10/30: It may not be so... the Moonlite's recorded message indicates that they are closed for the season, but will open next spring as usual. We pray that this is correct, and have written GoTriCities to attempt to clarify the situation with us.
8/19/09: Our condolences to the family of Starlite founder Richard William Beasley, who passed away July 26 at age 86. Beasley opened the drive-in in 1952 and operated it for over a half-century; his family still runs it today. His obituary and guest book are online. The Starlite will pay tribute to him with a showing of the drive-in perennial Thunder Road the weekend of August 28, which will close out the season.
7/21/09: Another long-forgotten southwest Virginia drive-in discovered, along with the tragic story behind it.
7/15/09: For a dozen too-brief years in the '50s and '60s, Annapolis had its own drive-in, the Jack Vogel-designed Colonial. We've just added a beautiful oblique aerial photo of the Colonial, taken in its final year of 1967. The marquee, too.
• Today, the Raleigh Road turns 60 years young. Saturday, it celebrates in style, before the night's showing of the new Harry Potter movie. Details here.
• Virginia drive-ins with newly-pinpointed locations: the Stockade (Williamsburg); the Fairground (Rocky Mount); the Crown (Accomac); and the Rainbow (Lee County). Vintage aerial photos showing each site are posted; more of the same coming soon for more drive-ins.
6/29/09: We've added aerial photo links to too many DI pages to name here -- going back as far as the late '40s, for metro DC and Baltimore and all over Delaware -- courtesy of the Web's newest wonder, HistoricAerials.com.
6/15/09: A couple of photos of the Richmond area's Airport arrive, taken on its farewell weekend in 1985, but nevertheless revealing the true drive-in gem it once must have been.
• How many of you knew that Paw Paw, W. Va. once had a drive-in? Well, it did, as we've found out.
6/8/09: South-central PA may soon have one less drive-in. Haar's will run through this season, but its future beyond that is in question, according to these articles (video at second link). The reason is soft attendance and snack bar sales over the last year, although fans have been passionate in response to the threatened closing. (Take it from this writer, their snack bar is definitely one that's worthy of supporting.)
5/29/09: On the same day that one Virginia drive-in makes its triumphant return, we learn that another has dimmed its projector for good. The Hiland in Rural Retreat closed out a 56-year run with the recent retirement of its owner. No word yet on whether the property is going on the market.
5/21/09: Don't count the Dream Drive-In out quite yet... we hear that the owner, who is leasing an upstate New York drive-in with an option to buy, hasn't given up on his plan to bring his Virginia property back to life.
• Also, we uncover the existence of another old drive-in, this one in the Richlands, Va. area that didn't survive the mid-'50s.
5/5/09: Our friend Reggie Reaves brings us more goodies from the Eastern Shore: pix of the Pocomoke/State Line and Exmore, plus vintage newspaper ads bookending the 11½-year run of Salisbury's Bowl.
4/28/09: We've moved to a new server and are now directly under our driveins.org domain -- which you might have noticed if you attempted to log onto driveins.4t.com and found yourself transported here. We won't have our old site up for much longer, so reset any bookmarks you may have for it now.
• While the Keysville remains under renovation, their website is already up and running.
4/13/09: The old Keysville Drive-In is about to be brought back to life -- May 15 is the hoped-for reopening date, once the screen is rebuilt, snack-bar renovations are completed and new projection equipment is brought in. With the Mayberry and Goochland, we may just see the emergence of THREE new (or revived) drive-ins in this state in less than a year's time. Rock on Virginia!
• For those of you wondering why the Bengies hasn't opened yet, this article explains it: unwelcome ambient light from a new convenience store across the street. Plans were to start the season in mid-March, but are on hold until the situation is dealt with.
4/6/09: That Richmond-area couple who spoke of wanting to open a drive-in (see 7/7/08 item below)? Turns out they meant business. The Goochland Drive-In, to be located in western Goochland County, is slated for a mid-2009 opening; more details here.
3/16/09: The plan to bring back the Dream Drive-In has fallen through. Property-line issues unseen at purchase are the culprit. This article has the details, which provide a valuable historical insight into the operation of Southern drive-ins in the pre-Civil Rights era.
2/1/09: Some early-1970s DI handbills from Fairfax County (Sunset, Super 29) and Richmond (Patterson). Also, catch a bit of the flavor of a night out at Charlottesville's Ridge in the '70s -- their "feature presentation" snipe is now viewable on the page.
1/25/09: New to the Delaware pages: Terraserver links added, plus the first of a comprehensive set of Google Maps aerial views (more to come across the rest of the site).
1/19/09: Big news: our site has expanded to fully include Delaware! This page has a full listing of the First State's drive-ins of the past, from Delmar to Claymont, with vital facts for all; several boast photos.
1/13/09: Where were you in '72? If "Charlottesville" is the answer, this collection of vintage Ridge Drive-In programs shows some of what you could have been seeing on the outdoor screen that year. Plus, new reminiscences and fun facts about Alexandria's Mt. Vernon Drive-In.
1/4/09: Wonder what one of America's smallest-ever drive-ins looked like while it was still around and intact? Get a look at it, and also an aerial photo of the nearby Warrenton DI from around that time. Also, an intrepid site visitor journeys deep into the wooded graveyard of Ocean City's Shore Drive-In and returns with photos showing most of what's left of it.
12/15/08: A mid-1970s pic of Augusta County's old Starlite Drive-In is now up.
12/13/08: Some early presents have arrived in the driveins.org stocking: a bundle of vintage, 1974 photos of Charlottesville's Ridge Drive-In, and from the Eastern Shore, some recent shots of the Delmar, Dream, Pocomoke and Shore sites.
12/12/08: Lee Highway Drive-In fans should check that page for a just-added short film that includes footage of it as part of a tribute to DC-area theatres of yore.
11/30/08: The Diamond State Drive-In now belongs to the past, but what was the Dream Drive-In on Virginia's Eastern Shore will soon be reclaimed by the future. The Diamond State people will be keeping up their website as an online document of its history, while providing updates there on the progress of the to-be-renamed Virginia site's rebuilding (probable opening date: 2010).
11/26/08: Added to the Hillside Drive-In page: a short film documenting its final days, from the makers of Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
10/17/08: The Mayberry has arrived! The diner opened this past Friday, and the drive-in lights up for the first time this coming weekend. UPDATE: Rain showers on Friday forced a delay until Sunday evening for the debut.
• AND we have more good news... and bad news. Mark Frank (see 4/25/08 item) was not able to obtain sufficient financing to purchase and rebuild the Grove Drive-In (unsurprising considering the current economy), but he has taken over the lease of the Keysville, and will be getting help from the Raleigh Road's owners in fixing it up and prepping it for a projected spring 2009 reopening.
8/18/08: More photos of the emerging Mayberry Drive-In and Diner, showing the screen, diner and other buildings in position.
8/11/08: Big things happening in the Old Dominion:
• The Mayberry is finally speeding along, with the diner building (recently a working diner in Chesapeake) and screen in place, and an opening possibly in a short matter of weeks; details here. Photos soon!
• The Chincoteague area will soon see the resurrection of its old drive-in, courtesy of veteran DI operator Don Brown, who recently purchased the Dream property; click here for details.
• To those of you who may have attempted to email us lately, only to have your mails bounce: the situation with our webhost has been rectified, and you should be able to get through now. Our apologies.
7/7/08: ANOTHER new drive-in on the way to central/southern Virginia? The Richmond Times-Dispatch profiles a couple's quest to build an ozoner in Goochland County (once home to the late, great Patterson). Excited? Most of the commenting readers are too.
6/30/08: As you may have guessed, the Mayberry Drive-In and Diner has not exactly proceeded on schedule. The last target date offered was 2008; new photos on the Mayberry page depict the progress thus far.
• Photos are now posted on the Talley (Louisa, Va.); South (Danville, Va.); and Arvonia (Va.) pages.
• Also, new, higher-quality shots of the 220 (Martinsville, Va.) and Grove (Blackstone, Va.) are now up. Look for more upgrades (larger images, better scans) as the site overhaul continues.
6/25/08: The Cumberland has relaunched its website.
5/8/08: Take a real "trip down memory lane" with one of the drive-in-building pioneers of the Mid-Atlantic, who recalls his career installing the wiring and speakers at over two dozen drive-ins in Virginia, Maryland and elsewhere in the '50s and '60s.
4/25/08: Potential great news for Southside Virginia drive-in fans: the Blackstone Courier-Record reports that the long-dead Grove Drive-In could be brought back in the near future. Mark Frank, a resident of nearby Crewe, has a contract to buy the property and could have a new screen up in the next few months if all goes well. We also hear that another aspiring DI operator has leased the Keysville with an eye on renovating and reopening it.
11/20/07: Very sad news: the owners of the Diamond State property have opted not to renew the lease, which will make the 2008 season its last one.
9/5/07: Congratulations to the Moonlite on being named to the National Register of Historic Places! It's one of only three drive-in theatres in the country to hold that designation.
7/25/07: Disappointing news: some unexpected red tape has caused the Hager's rebirth to be postponed until spring 2008 at earliest. Article linked from page.
6/20/07: Added two 1967 photos depicting the Rockville Drive-In.
6/10/07: Disgusting: some thieves made off with about fifty in-car speakers from Hull's late last month. The theatre is looking at a cost of over $1300 to replace them.
6/5/07: Update on the Mayberry Drive-In: a June groundbreaking and an August or September opening are planned. More in this article.
5/2/07: The Park Place has a new website.
3/26/07: The capacity for daylight movie presentation is the Grail that has eluded drive-in operators since Richard Hollingshead's day -- yet the York Drive-In claims to, finally, possess an effective technology for it. News article linked from the York page.
3/14/07: It's a go! The Mayberry Drive-In Theatre and Diner was unanimously approved by the Bedford County Board of Supervisors. The developers maintain hopes for a July opening. More info on the drive-in complex can be found here.
3/10/07: Added a 1977 photo of suburban Baltimore's Valley Drive-In.
2/19/07: Lotsa info about the Harrisonburg and Roth's drive-ins, plus more photos of the Harrisonburg (including one taken inside the old snack bar), courtesy of an ex-employee of both theatres. Also, a not-happy update on the current state of the Keysville.
1/29/07: Another drive-in-turned-flea market destined for redevelopment: Baltimore's North Point. See page for link to article.
1/26/07: Lynchburg's Fort Twin Drive-In (now Flea Market) appears to be on the verge of disappearance; link to newspaper article added to page.
1/21/07: So far, so good: the Bedford County, Va. Planning Comission unanimously approved rezoning for the proposed drive-in in Moneta. Next stop: a public hearing before the final decision.
12/19/06: Links added to a pair of newspaper articles saluting the departed Fredericksburg Drive-In.
12/16/06: More information on the proposed Virginia drive-in mentioned below.
11/13/06: Another new drive-in in Virginia? This local news item makes mention of a combination drive-in theatre/diner under proposal for Moneta, in the growing Smith Mountain Lake resort area, possibly arriving as soon as July '07 if it's approved.
8/17/06: Hull's just got some major national publicity as the subject of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News segment on drive-ins. Go here to watch it online.
8/15/06: A great first-person account of the Ranch Drive-In's all-night Halloween horrorthons of yore is posted. Also, authentic photos of the Fredericksburg Drive-In ticket booth and screen.
8/9/06: The Family and the Raleigh Road are featured in a segment on the drive-in renaissance, hosted by Arch Campbell, that ran on NBC 4/Washington's Monday newscast. The entire segment can be viewed here.
7/19/06: The Central, which has been under new ownership since last September, has a snazzy new website.
6/29/06: Recollections about the Grove and Super 51 drive-ins posted.
6/22/06: A find that shocked even your webmaster: a beautiful photo of the Woodbridge Sunset marquee!
6/20/06: Driving directions, courtesy of Windows Live Local, are now linked on all open drive-in pages.
6/9/06: A clarification: contrary to previous reports, the Hager will not be showing current titles this season, until the permanent screen and setup are in place.
6/8/06: Link added to a Baltimore City Paper interview with Bengies operator D. Edward Vogel.
4/27/06: New photos posted documenting progress on renovating the Raleigh Road and Hager. Also, a reminiscence about Cumberland, Md.'s Crystal from the founder's grandson.
4/6/06: As promised, the new, interactive drive-in map is up. Powered by Google Maps, it features pan, drag and zoom capabilities and pinpoint location of each drive-in to enhance trip-planning ability. Coming soon: the return of driving directions.
4/5/06: The Hager Drive-In is coming back! The site has been purchased by AFE Theatres, which is moving its mobile drive-in operation back from Bowie, and will also be reviving the Hagerstown 10 indoor-plex. Both theatres will reopen in May (update: the drive-in is scheduled to open June 9). More details at their website.
3/19/06: Link added to a bird's-eye photo view of the old Plaza Drive-In in Richmond.
3/06/06: Also out now with its own website: the Moonlite in Abingdon, Va.
2/21/06: The Raleigh Road has changed hands again, and is currently being spruced up for an April opening. Check out its new website.
11/01/05: The Bright Leaf, once again, is an all-year drive-in... and this winter, so is the Eden!
10/28/05: Read the story of the Columbia's demise in these articles.
7/28/05: Added: link to a newspaper article about the Diamond State Drive-In.
6/22/05: At long last, the news you've been waiting for: the foot-dragging is over at the Frederick County Zoning Board, and the Bumpers Drive-In people now have official approval to begin building along Route 140. According to the Bumpers website, they are now on track to be fully open by Spring '06.
6/16/05: Link added to an article on Hull's from American Profile (a weekly magazine distributed as a supplement with hundreds of small-town newspapers nationwide).
4/17/05: Recent Baltimore news reports (1, 2) confirm that the Bel Air Drive-In and adjoining Big M Restaurant have indeed gone out of business. Declining revenues forced the operators to shutter both establishments for the first time since 1952, when the drive-in opened. The current land owners say they have "no current plans" for the "investment property".
3/30/05: Links added to three photos of the Hiway Drive-In in Radford, Va., taken in 1987 while the major structures were still mostly intact.
2/2/05: Memories shared about the drive-ins in Hancock, Md. and Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
1/30/05: Link added to a photo of Northern Virginia's Super 29 Drive-In marquee logo.
1/24/05: More sad news: longtime Bright Leaf Drive-In owner/operator Don Davis passed away from cancer on January 6, at age 69. Davis, who had been with the drive-in since his father founded it, took a great deal of pride in the place, and he will surely be missed. Our condolences to his family and the Bright Leaf employees.
1/10/05: New information and reminiscences about the 219 and Paradise drive-ins in Garrett County, Md.
11/25/04: New photos of the Eastern Shore's Super 50 Drive-In have been contributed.
10/7/04: The drive-in world just lost one of its giants with the passing of Jack K. Vogel, designer and builder of the Bengies Drive-In, along with many other drive-ins and indoor theatres across Maryland (including the Hillside and Colonial), Ohio and Pennsylvania. Our condolences to his son, Bengies operator D. Vogel, and the rest of his family. Some of Jack Vogel's artist renditions of his projects can be seen here, and reproductions of them purchased.
10/3/04: Numerous factual updates to the site in recent weeks, including:
• newly discovered drive-in operating in Moneta, Va. (near Bedford) in early '50s
• Highland Drive-In, Blue Grass, Va.: years of operation added, with other data
• locations pinpointed for Middlesex Drive-In, Warner, Va., and Callaghan Drive-In, Covington, Va.
9/20/04: The wrath of Ivan was felt this past Friday by the Family Drive-In, when one of the dozens of tornadoes spawned in Virginia by the former hurricane hurled debris into the 48-year-old front screen, creating two sizable holes in the screen and base. The good news is that the relatively mild damage -- this was the same twister that overturned tractor-trailers on I-81 and obliterated other buildings along nearby sections of US 11 -- will be a mere speed bump on the way to the drive-in's May 2005 reopening. The bad news is that the closing-weekend program for Screen 1 was canceled due to the damage.
9/15/04: A fan of Cumberland, Md.'s old Super 51 Drive-In shares his fond memories of the place, and his hopes that it might rise again.
9/15/04: Think the Park Drive-In was the Petersburg area's first? Think again... we've just learned about not one, but two short-lived local drive-ins that predate both it and the Blue Star. Also, the story of the end of Blackstone's Grove Drive-In is fleshed out quite a bit.
9/11/04: Link added to a 1965 photo of the snack bar at the old Patrick Drive-In near Stuart, Va.
9/10/04: Two new photos posted of the remains of the Fredericksburg Drive-In.
9/10/04: Link added to an online documentary film about Washington's old movie palaces which also features the Beltsville Drive-In.
7/27/04: Wesley Horton returns with a new column applying the wondrous world of GPS technology to Drive-In Archaeology.
7/4/04: In days of old, pilots flying into the airport at Baileys Crossroads at night could often take in a few moments of whatever was playing on the Sunset Drive-In screen as they approached the north runway. Go here to see what we mean.
6/27/04: Sad news: the Eastern Shore's 213 Drive-In has now vanished totally. New updates on it and on the Chestertown and Super 50 pages.
5/25/04: A woman shares her childhood memories of Buchanan, Va.'s long-gone Mt. Joy Drive-In.
5/5/04: We've just discovered a page with vintage, 1963 B&W pics of Garrett County, Md.'s old 219 Drive-In.
4/1/04: Picture this: a Bengies Drive-In with mini-golf, indoor cinemas and other added attractions. This is the scenario envisioned by manager D. Edward Vogel in order to allow him to purchase the property and secure the drive-in's future. It will, however, require a zoning change from residential (!) to commercial. Bengies fans are urged to offer their support for the change with instructions here.
3/13/04: New pics up of suburban Maryland drive-ins: the Central Avenue, 301, ABC, Ranch and Super Chief.
12/07/03: A veteran of the Richmond drive-in biz explains how Mother Nature caused the Patterson Drive-In's untimely demise.
11/30/03: Reminiscences about southwest Virginia's Cavalier and Blue Grass drive-ins, from a man who worked as a projectionist for the former, while his brother filled the same post at the latter.
9/17/03: Of interest to Fredericksburg-area DI buffs: the location of the old Thornburg Drive-In has been pinpointed.
9/9/03: Two 1949 photos of the under-construction Dixie Drive-In, and new information about the Queen, all thanks to the son of the founder of both Roanoke-area drive-ins.
8/11/03: The daughter of the projectionist at Roanoke's Trail Drive-In weighs in with her memories.
8/6/03: The Starlite in Christiansburg, Va. now has its own website.
8/6/03: Your long wait is over: the webmaster finally found the time for some heavy-duty scanning, and dozens of photos have just been added to this site! Click below to see new pics of:
• Anchor Drive-In, Newport News VA
• Austinville Drive-In, Austinville VA
• Baker's Air Park Drive-In, Burlington WV
• Bright Leaf Drive-In, Mt. Airy NC
• Cumberland Drive-In, Newville PA
• Exmore Drive-In, Exmore VA
• Hillsdale Drive-In, Washington VA
• Hunters Lodge Drive-In, Troy VA
• Park Drive-In, Petersburg VA
• Roth's Drive-In, Harrisonburg VA
• Sinai West Drive-In, South Boston VA
• Starlite Drive-In, Greenville VA
• 360 Drive-In, Danville VA
• Winchester Drive-In, Winchester, VA
6/16/03: New for the 2003 season at just-reopened Haar's Drive-In: FM sound!
6/12/03: Breaking Bumpers Drive-In news! The Frederick County Planning Commission has granted conditional approval for the drive-in to be built at the Monocacy site. With all legal hurdles finally out of the way, plans are to begin construction this fall and open in spring 2004.
6/2/03: Terraserver aerial photos are now available for Maryland's Eastern Shore. Links added for the 213, Bowl, Super 50 and Shore drive-ins. Also, a topo map link to the approximate early'-50s location of the Chestertown Drive-In.
6/2/03: A humorous reminiscence of the Timonium Drive-In from a former employee, and a sad update about the venerable marquee of Richmond's Rosebowl Drive-In.
5/3/03: An amazing 1954 photo of Northern Virginia's Lee Highway Drive-In marquee is now up.
4/25/03: Get a look at these: links to vintage aerial photos of the ABC and Winchester's Royal drive-ins.
3/7/03: A new listing for an early-'50s drive-in in far southwest Virginia.
2/14/03: It Ain't Over 'Til... : The Bumpers Drive-In folks have not given up on opening an Eldersburg location. According to the latest progress report at bumpers-drivein.com, they've taken their case vs. Carroll County to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which has agreed to hear it. If it goes in their favor, they plan to build a second Bumpers there in 2004.
2/14/03: Just added: an awesome 1951 photo of Baltimore's North Point Drive-in screen tower and marquee.
12/2/02: Nine new photos of the Ranch Drive-In from 1986-87.
9/10/02: Two 1949 photos of Arlington's Airport Drive-In, plus a reminiscence from the owner's son.
9/2/02: The Directions feature on the open drive-in pages is no longer working, as MapBlast has discontinued this service. We are working to remedy the situation ASAP.
6/12/02: Former US 50 landmark, Baker's Air Park Drive-In has been pinpointed on the landscape. Historical data added on it and on the Winchester Drive-In.
6/11/02: Discovered: a pre-World War II Richmond-area drive-in.
6/9/02: On the Eastern Shore, a quest for the unknown drive-in. Read on...
6/7/02: New historical info added to Edmondson Drive-In page.
5/6/02: A great find: six vintage photos of southwest Virginia's long-gone Pulaski Drive-In.
4/29/02: Vintage, WW2-era wire photo of Williamsburg's Stockade Auto-Torium added.
4/8/02: Bad news: the Keysville's reopening has been postponed to at least 2004.
3/25/02: Memories shared about Danville's South Drive-In.
1/21/02: New images added to three P.G. County, Maryland drive-in pages: the ABC, Ranch and Super Chief.