Massachusetts Drive-ins

Massachusetts was an early leader among drive-in states.

It has the distinction of having hosted one of the first
5 drive-in theatres in America (the Weymouth Drive-in,
which opened in May of '36), and also, four of America's
first 15 drive-in cinemas were located in Massachusetts!

Within ten years of it's first drive-in opening, there were
twenty located in Massachusetts, and during the peak
drive-in years of the late 50's, the state had nearly
90 outdoor theatres in operation. Since that time,
their number has declined very steeply, with 94%
of them going dark; and presently, there are only
five remaining which we can enjoy and preserve
(or, six, if you count a NH Dr'in that overlaps).

Here are recent closings and all the remaining Massachusetts Drive-ins
which you still have the opportunity to enjoy and to help support/preserve:

  • Fitchburg (Worcester County) Massachusetts
    see:  Lunenburg, Masschusetts

    Photo: William Watson
     Mohawk Drive-in marquee 
 Gardner, Massachusetts 
-photo by William Watson

  • Gardner (Worcester County) Massachusetts
    Mohawk Drive-in:    GONE
    located on Route 2A (Airport Road)

    The Mohawk was a solo-screen Drive-in that opened back in 1950
    and had accommodated approximately 500 cars, and which was
    open seasonally, April - September, usually screening double
    features each nite, with occasional triples; and which in its
    later years charged admission by the carload ($12 per car).
    The property has been sold and developed with new housing.

    Photo: William Watson
     The Leicester Drive-in 
 Leicester, Massachusetts 
-photo by William Watson

  • Leicester (Worcester County) Massachusetts
    Leicester Drive-in:  508-892-4400
    located at 1675 Main Street (W.Main)

    The Leicester is a two screen Drive-in open seasonally, with
    double features on each of their screens for up to 500 cars.
    Admission to either screen (and 2 films) is $15 per carload.

  • Lunenburg (Worcester County) Massachusetts
    Tri-Town Drive-in:  978-345-5062
    located at 3 Youngs Road, off West Main Street

    The Tri-Town is a large single-screen Drive-in for 800 cars,
    screening double features and occasional triple features; open
    seasonally, April thru September; charges by the carload ($13).

    Photo: David Gage
     The Mendon Drive-in 
 Mendon, Massachusetts 
-photo by David Gage

  • Mendon (Worcester County) Massachusetts
    Mendon Twin Drive-in:  508-473-4958 SnackBar: 473-5840
    located at 45 Milford Street (Route 16); * The Mendon is
    the nearest Drive-in to the Boston metro area (40 miles).

    The Mendon opened in 1954 with a single screen during the boom years
    for American Drive-ins, and was one of 58 outdoor cinemas operating in
    the state of Massachusetts at that point in time. Thirty-three years later,
    the Mendon was acquired by new owners who - in a few words or less -
    have polished this jewel of a Drive-in to the extent that it is one of those
    things better seen than described, and serves the cause of all remaining
    Drive-ins by being one of the best examples of enshrining these cultural
    and nostalgic icons as an overall entertainment experience, which will
    undoubtedly attract new devotees; in other words: it is preservation as
    a self-fulfilled prophecy. The Mendon added a second screen was in 1998,
    and has parking for up to 800 cars. We won't spoil the fun by listing all the
    clever nostalgic flourishes that have been added to the concession area;
    like we said:  it's so much better seen than described. The menu is also
    colorfully eclectic, going far beyond the usual snackbar fare, and includes
    a popular selection of Mexican specialties (the snackbar itself has become
    a destination among the locals). The Mendon is open seasonally, April thru
    September; wknds only until mid-May; 7 nites during peak season. Audio
    for movie soundtracks is provided by AM & FM-Stereo vicinity broadcast.
    Admission to the Mendon Drive-in Theatre is charged by the carload ($15).

    Photo: William Watson
     The Northfield Drive-in 
 Northfield, Massachusetts 
-photo by William Watson

  • Northfield (Franklin County) Massachusetts
    Northfield Drive-in theatre:  603-239-4054
    at MA/NH border on Route 63 (Hinsdale Road)

    This is one of two Drive-ins that we index under more than
    1 state, being right on the line between Massachusetts and
    New Hampshire (although it is technically and mostly within
    the state of New Hampshire). The Northfield made a cameo
    appearance as a wartime period location in the motion pic-
    The Cider House Rules,  although, in actuality, this Drive-in
    opened 4 years after WW-II had ended (2002 is Northfield's
    53rd consecutive season). They screen double features,
    and still have traditional speakers in addition to AM/FM
    vicinity radio broadcasting for the movie soundtrack.
    Admission: $7 for adults; $3.50 children under 12

    Photo: William Watson
     GONE: The Edgemere Drive-in 
 Shrewsbury, Massachusetts 
 -photo by William Watson

  • Shrewsbury (Worcester County) Massachusetts
    Edgemere Drive-in:    REOPENING SUMMER 2002!
    located on Route 20 -- off of Route 9 --
    (east from Worcester, or west coming from Boston)

    With regret, we announced that what had once been the home
    of the biggest  Drive-in screen in the state of Massachusetts -
    120' wide (damaged in a 1988 storm, and replaced with an 80'),
    was just a bulldozer away  from being a 153,000 sq.ft distribution
    center for Home Depot. The Drive-in, which opened in 1955, had
    been open seasonally every year, through September 2001, with
    a capacity for up to 1,000 cars on the spacious 36-acre property.
    Subsequent to 11th-Hour developments .. (very fortuitously,
    the Town ultimately rejected Home Depot's affections for the site),
    it now appears that reports of the Drive-in's demise were premature,
    and in fact, preparations are underway to re-light the screen at this
    venerable picture show sometime late in June of Season 2002.

     The Wellfleet Drive-in 
 South Wellfleet, Massachusetts

  • South Wellfleet (Barnstable County) Massachusetts
    Wellfleet Drive-in:  508-349-7176
    located at 51 Route 6 (at Eastham town line)

    The very last Drive-in on Cape Cod is something of a shrine,
    preserving a little bit of everything that those old enough
    to remember do remember about the classic Drive-ins ..
    likewise, it's a great venue for initiating anyone that
    hasn't ever experienced a great American Drive-in.
    The massive 100-foot wide screen at the Wellfleet is
    one of the largest in New England and has remained
    lit since the late 50's heyday of American Drive-ins ..
    for 44 consecutive seasons. There is still a playground
    and early 60's vintage 18-hole miniature golf on premise,
    plus traditional Drive-in speakers for each and every one
    of the 700 cars that can park here. The movie soundtrack is
    also provided on FM (89.3) vicinity broadcast if you want to
    get back to the Future. The Wellfleet is open seasonally, from
    mid-May to mid-October; wknds only early & late in the season;
    open seven nites from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There's a full
    sit-down restaurant in addition to the traditional snackbar, for
    those arriving early.  Admission: $6.50 adults; $4 for ages 4-11.

  • Sutton (Worcester County) Massachusetts
    Sutton Drive-in Theatre:    DARK
    located at 110 Worcester-Providence Tnpk (Rte.146)

    * originally built in 1947, and it's still pretty much intact ..
    question is:   will it be the next Drive-in to be revived,
    or the state of Massachusetts' next WALMART ?

 Make use of this stamp:  
 send us a Letter about the 
 Drive-ins of Massachusetts!

If you are aware of any Drive-ins
that we seem to have missed, or
would like to contribute any
information to our efforts,
please use this envelope
to send a letter to us.

 If you have any 
 new Info for us ..


 The Guide to Drive-in Movie Theatres

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