July 25: CenterBrook Drive-In, Martinsville IN

Centerbrook Drive-In sign, screen, and box office in between

Photo from the Centerbrook Drive-In web site

It’s Day 206 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I’ll be hanging around Indianapolis for a few days, picking up the nearby drive-ins. This day, it was just a half-hour drive from the Tibbs Drive-In in Indianapolis to the CenterBrook Drive-In, seven miles north of Martinsville IN

The Centerbrook first opened in May 1950, built and operated by Clyde Weddle Jr., Clyde Weddle Sr., and Robert H. Brown. It got its name from the two nearby towns of Centerton and Brooklyn. Reference books suggest that Charles Morrison took over by the end of the decade.

The Centerbrook web site says the place has been in continuous operation “every year since 1950”. Its original wooden screen was blown down by a tornado in the 1960s and replaced. According to the Bloomington Herald Times, Robert and Stacia Zloty bought the 50-year-old Center Brook Drive-in and entertainment complex at a sheriff’s sale and “reopened” the place in September 2000. To me, that suggests an interruption in operation, but I wouldn’t know.

That entertainment complex included a bar and a few ball diamonds. “My husband wanted the baseball diamonds, and I wanted the outdoor theater. I hope to make the drive-in look like it used to when it first opened,” Stacia said. When interviewed in Spring 2001, she was diligently fixing the speakers.

Then in 2007, projectionist Tyler Tharpe bought the Centerbrook, but just the drive-in.  “I was only interested in the drive-in,” he told the Morgan County Business Leader (pdf) in 2016, “but didn’t know if the owners would separate the properties. Once they agreed to do that, we had a deal.” That would lead to a problem in 2015 when the now separate ball field complex left its lights on during a movie. Sounds like the dispute was quickly resolved.

The Centerbrook has an odd schedule of weekends plus Tuesdays, so that’s why I picked a Tuesday to visit. It’s been the second feature a few nights, but this was the first time I encountered the scary shark movie 47 Meters Down as the first show. As always, I was grateful for something new to watch as I munched on some funnel cake fries.

Miles Today / Total:  22 / 25890 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: 47 Meters Down / 122

Nearby Restaurant: The restaurants in Mooresville might be just a little closer, but since I was staying in Martinsville, that’s where I looked for food. Salads are healthy food, right? That’s what I figured when I dropped in at JK’s Cheesecake Cafe & Coffee for taco salad Tuesday. All that needed was a slice of homemade turtle cheesecake for dessert.

Where I Virtually Stayed: Martinsville doesn’t have a lot of hotels, but it’s gone one of my go-to brands, the Holiday Inn Express. My room had all the amenities, including a Kuerig coffee maker, breakfast was the usual HIE high standard, and everyone here just seemed especially friendly. Thanks!

Only in Martinsville: In 1899 Eugene Shireman, a Martinsville entrepreneur, turned his swamp land into fisheries, founding Grassyfork Fisheries. This fish factories prodigious production of exportable fish led to Martinsville becoming known as the “Goldfish Capital of the World.”

Next stop: Skyline Drive-In Theatre, Shelbyville IN.