Drive-Ins

 

The Spud Drive-In. Photo courtesy jpc.raleigh, Flickr.
The Spud Drive-In

Anyone who owns -- or has tried to buy -- a camera any time in the past 10 years knows that digital photography has replaced film almost entirely. This transformation has not been limited to still pictures; digital is now king at the movies, too, which has created challenges at many older movie theaters.

The Spud Drive-In in Driggs, Idaho, is no exception. The theater, which opened in 1953 (and celebrates its 60th birthday this week) has long been a beloved part of the community, but has faced closure twice in recent years -- first from management changes, and then from the transition to digital projection.

Local fans rallied with Facebook outreach that reached thousands, and to date enough "Save the Spud" t-shirts have been sold to cover half the cost of a new digital projector. (They're still available -- get 'em while they're hot!)... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.

 

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Shankweiler's in Orefield, Pennsylvania is the oldest drive-in theatre in the country.

It was only supposed to be a temporary gig. Paul Geissinger, a recent high school graduate, agreed to run the projection booth at Shankweiler’s Drive-in Theatre in Orefield, Pa., for just a couple weeks until the theater’s new owner could find a permanent employee.

Forty-two years later, Geissinger is still there -- except now, he owns the place.

“I remember, I told [the owner] no, I’m not interested in working at a drive-in,” says Geissinger, who, at the time, was enrolled in electronics school. “But I said, fine, I’ll give you two weekends while you find someone else. But after two weeks, he couldn’t find anyone, so I gave him three weeks. Then another week. And I’m still there.”

This April, Geissinger opened up the beloved Shankweiler’s Drive-in Theatre, the oldest drive-in theater in the country, for its 80th season.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.

Gone But Not Forgotten: Minnesota's Cottage View Drive-In

Posted on: June 20th, 2013 by David Robert Weible 1 Comment

 

The Cottage View Drive-In’s iconic 1960s sign. Credit: City of Cottage Grove
The Cottage View Drive-In’s iconic 1960s sign

From its first showing of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World on opening night in 1966 until its farewell feature of Grease in September of 2012, the Cottage View Drive-In served the southeastern suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul with good, old-fashioned American summertime fun (short as those summertimes may be). And while not all the movies it showed over its 46-year service had happy endings, each left the loyal patrons of the Cottage View satisfied. The same can be said for the theater itself.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. He came to DC from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

 

The abandoned Frontier Drive-In in Center, Colo.
The abandoned Frontier Drive-In in Center, Colo.

The drive-in theater is an American summertime classic, and June 6 marks the 80th anniversary of the opening of the very first theater in Camden, N.J. in 1933. Park-In Theaters, the brainchild of chemical company magnate Richard Hollingshead, charged 25 cents for each car and an additional 25 for each passenger, and advertised with the slogan, “The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.”

A number of these nostalgic spaces are still in operation in the U.S. (as of 2012, the number stood at 368), but abandoned drive-ins also dot the American landscape, their weathered screens and dilapidated ticket booths serving as reminders of a bygone era. Craig Deman, a Santa Monica, Ca.-based photographer, has made it his mission to document these remnants in 10 different states over four years. His images are both evocative and haunting.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an editorial assistant at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.