Mar. 8: Kenda Drive-In, Marshall, AR

photo from the Kenda Drive-In Facebook page

It’s Day 67 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I drove about two and a half hours following US 412 from Fayetteville to US 65 and on to the Kenda Drive-In, deep in the Ozark Mountains in Marshall, AR.

The Kenda’s Facebook page says that the drive-in opened in April 1965. Its sign is on Highway 65, but the theater itself is about a block north on Westwood Drive. It’s almost certainly the only drive-in that Marshall has ever known, considering the city has never had as many as 2000 residents.

Although the Kenda is only showing movies on Friday through Sunday nights for now, the concession stand was open for lunch. I got here in time to try some burgers and those chocolate rolls for dessert, and watching a movie loaded on my phone, it was an interesting daytime drive-in experience.

Miles Today / Total:  117 / 8640 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 38

Nearby Restaurant: When the drive-in isn’t serving food, the best example of local cuisine is the Daisy Queen just down the road. That’s not a typo; although the sign looks a lot like that other DQ, this place is more like a diner than an ice-cream parlor. It’s best known for its burgers and fries, but I had a chef salad just to get something green. And yes, they do serve ice cream for dessert.

Where I Virtually Stayed: Oh dear. Google Maps didn’t think there was a place to stay within 10 miles of the Kenda, and I think that’s because it thought the old Sunset Motel was closed. I kept looking for hotels along the way to my next stop, and I couldn’t find anything I wanted. Mountain View was only an hour away, and since I didn’t have to drive late at night, I didn’t mind too much. Besides, this way I’ll get to spend two nights at a clean, nicely priced Econo Lodge.

Only in Marshall: The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture says “Marshall’s significance lies in its survival as a mountain county seat after challenges such as Civil War anarchy, devastation of mining and timber industries, a bankrupt railroad, failed small local and outsider-owned industries, and aggressive environmentalists.” The Searcy County historical society’s annual North Arkansas Ancestor Fair, started in 1990, draws hundreds of visitors.

Next Stop: Stone Drive-In Theatre, Mountain View AR.

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