Over at TriCities.com, the folks there ran a story that first appeared in the Muncie (IN) Star Press. I’m not sure how that works, but the only difference between the two is that the Star Press version includes some photos and a nice bit of video, which I’ve embedded here. It’s worth the visit for the photos, but the Star Press is one of those newspapers that wants to restrict viewers to a few pages a month unless they subscribe. But I digress.
Anyway, the story is about Michael Chalfant, who bought the remains of the Ski-Hi Drive-In, which sits just north of Muncie at the corner of Indiana highways 3 and 28. The Ski-Hi had closed around 2005, and it just sat until Chalfant bought it a couple of years ago. The Ski-Hi had a lot of fans, and there are any number of people who’d love to see it restored and operating again. And that’s pretty much the end of the story.
A big problem is that the Ski-Hi has been gutted. Not only was it hit by weather and decay, but vandals and scavengers cleared out the apartment at the base of the tower and the concession stand. “Everything’s pretty well gone,” Chalfant said. “Thieves have taken the scrap and the wiring. The snack bar is beyond repair. The counters are still in there but it’s pretty much been rummaged through.”
The situation now is that Chalfant mows the grounds and has “no immediate plans” to tear down the Ski-Hi. But he also says he has no particular plan to restore it. Some folks are starting to talk about forming a non-profit to embark on the huge project of restoring a drive-in when all that’s left is the land, the shell of a concession building, and a screen tower that’s slowly falling apart. Good luck on putting something together, and meanwhile, thanks to the Star Press for preserving this video snapshot of what a drive-in can look like after years of neglect.