We can always use a bit of good news, as was published in this morning’s Pueblo Chieftain. Marcella Snyder and her husband Jon Parkin, already the owners of the Tibbs Drive-In in Indianapolis, have purchased the Mesa Drive-In in Pueblo CO. They’re working on upgrades to the plumbing and a few other items, and are looking to reopen around Memorial Day weekend.
The slightly sad part of the story is a farewell to Chuck and Marianne James, longtime supporters of this blog, who are retiring. They had owned the Mesa since they saved it from the bulldozers in 1994. In 2000, they added two screens to their drive-in from others in Colorado that had closed. After those decades of stewardship, it’s so nice that they found another drive-in enthusiast to take over.
In honor of the transition, the Chieftain produced a nice little slideshow video documenting some of the Mesa’s history. I would note that there are significantly more than 200 active drive-ins in the US, but that’s a minor quibble. Let’s all be happy that this Colorado landmark shows every sign of staying active for decades to come.
Here’s another positive sign: The owners of the Holiday Drive-In west of Rockport IN have installed a sixth screen. That’s today’s news from the Messenger-Inquirer, based just across the Ohio River in Owensboro KY.
I’ll admit that this news confuses me a little. When I made my virtual visit to the Holiday last April, I noted that it had added that sixth screen in 2016. Today’s news said that the final work on that screen was done by Tim Moseley, son of former owner Darrell Moseley, who passed away in 2016. There’s a present-day photo of a crane hoisting the screen into place, so I must have been wrong last year.
Anyway, the Messenger-Inquirer story said that the new screen had been “saved from the former drive-in in Henderson,” and that this was Darrell’s last big improvement planned for the Holiday, which he bought in 1978. There were at least three drive-ins in Henderson KY: the Audubon, the Hi-Y, and the Starlite, which was the last to close. Maybe that’s where Screen 6 came from.
Even better, the younger Moseley is adding another concession stand and associated rest rooms, which should all be open by next summer. Shorter walks to the bathroom are always welcome!
Two things you should check out: that Messenger-Inquirer article with photo, and Google’s Street View of the Holiday. Although it’s a decade old, there’s a virtual drive all the way through the drive-in property, showing the signs for all five screens. I wish we had a lot more like that!
The renovation project in Terre Haute IN, which I most recently mentioned in January, has come to a successful conclusion. The former North Drive-In, which was sitting idle for about 30 years, reopens this weekend as the Moon Lite Drive-In Theater.
The ribbon-cutting was captured by a news video by WTHI, Terre Haute’s News Leader, and I embedded that video above. It quoted owner Brent Barnhart, who said, “People who do go to (drive-ins) just love the experience. It’s something that’s a lot different than going to a traditional movie theatre.”
As described in an earlier article in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, Barnhart has lived in Terre Haute all of his life. Last year, he took over the Starlite Drive-In in Bloomington, and that experience led him to believe that a home-town drive-in revival would work. “Halfway through the first year in Bloomington, I thought we should pursue a drive-in in Terre Haute,” he said.
It’s great to see another renovated drive-in back in action. I hope it inspires others to do the same.