Mar. 7: 112 Drive In, Fayetteville AR

It’s Day 66 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I spent an hour and a half driving across the border from eastern Oklahoma to western Arkansas, then north to the 112 Drive In in Fayetteville.

The 112 is a single-screen theater. It’s laid out for a second screen, but a Cinema Treasures commenter relayed that “the City of Fayetteville wanted us to Build a lake to retain water, (and) to dig out the culverts under 112. … We were to put a sidewalk from Nelms to the Glass company, to put in an irrigation system and water line and plant trees all across the HWY 112 frontage, So that kind of killed (the second screen) as ever being possible.”

When did the 112 open? I couldn’t find any hard information about it. There was a New York Times article about a guy who graduated college in 1980 and had visited the 112 “as a teenager”. It’s listed for Fayetteville in my 1984 Motion Picture Almanac along with the 62 Drive-in and 71 Drive-In. (Can you guess that they were all owned by the same company?) Yet the 1982 MPA lists the other two drive-ins and not the 112. On the other hand, none of those three appear in my 1972 MPA, but I know from another source that the 71 had operated since the 1950s, so maybe that source is just too erratic to trust.

The previous paragraph already had too many numbers in it, so the short version is that the 112 was probably open by the mid-1970s, but I just don’t know.

Once again, I arrived just a little too early. The 112 will reopen for the 2017 season on March 17.

Miles Today / Total:  88 / 8523 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 38

Nearby Restaurant: There are a lot of chain restaurants along the main drag on old Business 71 about a mile from the 112, but I kept on going because of the promise of an unusual experience. Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese offers, yes, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, sweet potato fries and so much more. I started off with the edamame hummus dip and black bean tortilla soup before the sourdough-based specialty of the house.

Where I Virtually Stayed: Had I stayed at a Sleep Inn yet during this odyssey? All those modern motel chains are starting to blur together. Anyway, at a great price, I got a clean room, good wifi, and some breakfast – all I needed for another day in Arkansas.

Only in Fayetteville: If you happened to click that New York Times link above, you already know this one. Sitting in front of the Colonial Motel in nearby Prairie Grove is a phone booth with its own Wikipedia page. This style of booth was introduced by AT&T in 1954 to make pay phones accessible in outdoor locations. It was damaged in a 2014 traffic accident, and its restoration became an internet cause célèbre. The phone booth was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 2015.

Next Stop: Kenda Drive-In, Marshall, AR.

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