The Drive-in Theatre Comes to Elkton

drive in 1950At a time when few had televisions, Elkton was looking forward to decades of grand entertainment after a drive-in theatre opened at White Hall Road and Route 40 on Friday evening, May 12, 1950.  Bringing this new outdoor show to Cecil County, Nathan Rosen had carefully located the new enterprise by finding a suitable tract, one large enough for 700 cars, on the new dual highway.  The 15-acres were leased from the Society of the Divine Savior, a Catholic order popularly known as Salvatorians.  Once the contract was signed, crews started grading the field, putting up the big screen, building the box office, concession stand and projection room, and wiring the sound system.

On the gala opening night, heavy floodlights brightened the area, while the high school band presented a concert, and balloons and carnations were given away.  Once dusk arrived, people settled down in their cars, enjoying “nature’s own healthy air conditioning,” while “Relentless,” starring Robert Young, played in Technicolor on the big outdoor screen.  Admission was 50 cents.

The popularity of the Elkton Drive-in grew quickly.  For decades to come, it served as a social-hub and a place for entertainment, where families and teenagers gathered to watch movies under a starry sky.

The lease was transferred to Reba and Muriel Schwartz in March 1960.   The new owners were experienced motion picture operators, owning the Smyrna Theater in Smyrna, DE; the Everett Theater in Middletown, DE; and the Del-Mar Drive in Theatre in Del-Mar, DE.  Local papers reported they were putting the Elk in first class condition for the spring opening.

The drive-in closed about 1984 when the property was sold to Wal-Mart.

Note:  Land Records research by Darlene McCall.

drive in march 28 1960 whig elktona

Showing in Elkton theatres in April 1960. Source: Cecil Whig

drive iin april 21 1960a

The Elkton Drive-in is under new management. Source: Cecil Whig, 1960

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