Garden Drive-In

20 State Route 11,
Hunlock Creek, PA 18621

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Garden Drive-In

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Gardens Drive-In opened in July 1952 with a capacity for 325 cars. It was renamed Garden Drive-In in February 1954. It was later twinned and remains open today. It has a capacity for 600 cars.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Nice looking marquee.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

In 1956 it parked 406 cars and was owned by TRI-STATE THEATRES.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm

In 1992 the Garden Drive-in celebrated its 40th year.Boxoffice July 1992.

muviebuf
muviebuf on October 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

The Garden’s screen, concession stand and projection booth were destroyed in the flooding which accompanied the remanants of Hurricane Lee in September 2011. This was the third flood for the Garden this year alone.

The Garden’s flea market will reopen this weekend but at this time it is uncertain if movies will ever be shown at the Garden again especially with the digital conversion on the horizon.

Chris1982
Chris1982 on October 3, 2014 at 10:13 pm

According to their website the drive-in was open for the 2014 season and they have converted to digital projection.

TomMc11
TomMc11 on May 31, 2017 at 11:29 am

I hope they keep going for a long time. I am born, bred and raised in the Cleveland, Ohio area and still live there, but never went to any of the multitude of drive-ins we had growing up. My first ever drive-in was the Garden with my wife, who is from Northeast Pennsylvania where the Garden is, and where she still has family. Since then I have added 4 more drive-ins to my list but the Garden will always have that special place :)

NeonMichael
NeonMichael on October 26, 2017 at 8:42 am

Based on the 1952 issues of The Mountain Echo, a weekly newspaper in Shickshinny PA, the Gardens Drive-In Theatre (named for Hunlock Gardens) opened between June 27 (an “opening soon” note) and July 11 (its first advertisement). It was said to have room for 325 cars. It became the singular Garden in February 1954.

The drive-in was built by Gardens Amusement Company, but that was apparently Theodore Roosevelt Cragle, who died of a heart attack in December 1955. His son Arthur took over the Garden.

More details emerge from Ronald Hontz’s sweeping History of Sweet Valley PA, written around 2003. Arthur Cragle ran the drive-in until 1986, when he sold it to Nelson and Diane Fey. They operated it until 1990 and passed it down to their daughter, Kimberly Barbacci, and her husband Doug. They’re still the owners in 2017.

Current (2017) manager David Hudzik had been the Garden’s projectionist since 1979, “and he has been the source for most of the info you read herein.” In 1986 the drive-in converted from in-car speakers to AM radio; they added FM in 1990.

Adjacent to the Susquehanna River, the Garden floods frequently. In June 1972, Hurricane Agnes caused extensive damage with water over the roof of the concession stand. “Following that event, Hudzik has gotten the removal of equipment down to a science. A team of five guys can now remove all the valuable items in three hours.”

Hontz continues by noting the Garden added a second screen on the southeastern corner of its property in 2002. “The main screen features parking for approximately 450 cars and another 250 or so can view the second screen.”

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