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Drive-ins: Movies & eats get nostalgic

June 25, 2014
By Erin O’Neill ( , Graffiti

It may seem that drive-in movie theaters have been slowly dropping off the map over the years and going the way of vinyl albums and landline telephones. Sometimes remnants of old theaters can be spotted along the roadside, covered in weeds or with screens taking on new life as advertising billboards. But there is a website that is dedicated to keeping the open air movie experience alive for younger generations or at least keeping a historical record of what used to be. was created by brother and sister team Kipp Sherer and Jennifer Sherer Janisch as an onlne interactive database of theaters all across the country, their current status and history.

While conversion to digital has forced many drive-ins to close, the interest in all things nostalgic has actually lead to the revival of outdoor theaters. Still, it is nowhere near the peak of the 1950s when there were around 4,000.

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Currently in West Virginia, there are 77 drive-ins listed in the database, but only six of those are currently open.

- Hilltop, in Chester

- Meadow Bridge

- Mt. Zion

- Pipestem, in Speedway

- Sunset, in Shinnston

- Warner in Franklin

The term "drive-in" may also conjure up images straight out of "American Graffiti" of girls on skates balancing trays of food for hungry customers. Sonic drive-ins throughout the country have capitalized, again, on these nostalgic images. But there are also still some real honest-to-goodness hot dog and ice cream having spots in and around the state that are worth the drivin' (get it?)

- Cone N Shake, Marietta, Ohio

- Davis Drive-In, Parkersburg

- Hillbilly Hotdogs, Lesage

- King Tut, Beckley

- Stewart's, Huntington

- Yann's, Fairmont



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