Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Followup: The Oakley Drive-In When it Was Still Operating

Thanks to a reader: some photos of the previously featured Oakley Drive-In Theatre when it was still operational, before it was abandoned and subsequently demolished.

- The theatre's marquee on Madison Rd. as seen in 2005. Image via Peter Huffman.

QC/D reader Peter Huffman sent in these photographs of the Oakley Drive-In Theatre when it was still in operation. Featured last week in Part 1 of the From the Archives series, I had explored and photographed this place in 2007 right before it met the wrecking ball. That article took a look at those images, the drive-in's nearly 50 year history, and what's developed since. Peter snapped these photographs in 2005 after he heard of the theatre's announced closing. Using an old 35mm Vivitar, he preserved what the drive-in looked like when it was still open for business.

- Snack bar and concession stand as seen in 2005. Image via Peter Huffman.

By Peter's recollection, the drive-in was actually closed that day when the property caretaker let him snap some photos. He didn't get to see the advertised films of "The Longest Yard" and "Sahara" and according to reviews: he didn't seem to miss anything.

- Snack bar and confession stand as seen in 2005. Image via Peter Huffman.

The Oakley would be closed for good later that fall. By 2007, its entrance and screen were still standing as new development had just started popping up on the site. That's when I had photographed it. These days, there's a few remnants of the theatre left. A resort for pets, retirement communities, and new construction have replaced the classic theatre.

Thanks to Peter for sending in these photographs and offering up a new perspective on a long-gone piece of local history.

- The Oakley Drive-In Theatre as seen abandoned in 2007.


  1. I remember going to that drive in with my Grandparents as a child. Luckily Starlite between Amelia and Bethel is still in operation. Back in the mid-90s I lived in Indianapolis and went to a drive in on it's last night and on the ground unhooked was one of the old 1950s metal speakers that you'd hang onto the window. I grabbed it and spoke with the owner (who was there because it was closing) and bought it for $5. I rewired it so I can plug it into a mp3 player or smartphone and play music.

    1. Please post a photo or video of that speaker. I'd love to see it, that's awesome.