Columbia Drive-In

4061 Columbia Avenue,
Columbia, PA 17512

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Columbia Drive-In

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The owner was J. and C. Mellor and the drive-in was open March to October and had FM and AM sound. It had double features and intermission trailers. It had new owners in 2001. It was opened in around 1956 since a recent (2005) article said it had been in operation for “nearly 50 years”. Just my obvious deduction.

The theater was sold (for $895,000) to make way for houses and stores. The drive-in closed in the fall of 2005.

Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 26, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Unfortunately the site doesn’t have aerial photos before the 2000s for most of the US. The vintage aerials are concentrated in the urban areas. To me the interesting part is seeing the transition in the urban areas from farmland and fields to commercial and housing. Lots more open space in America forty years ago.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 5, 2011 at 11:34 pm

So that is what upset Lost Memory,think he has way too much time on his hands.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 7, 2011 at 3:55 am

It was told to me that the above post is why he left and I was expecting more than that,He seems like a Journalist to me;should have thicker skin.I know I would miss all the great things you get on,The pictures,most of all and I read disagreements you have sometimes with Certain CT folks,but you don’t say to heck with it.I wish that Almanac i had had the addresses on all the Drive-ins i submit.I would love to have all the info when I submit a theatre,one reason why I have slacked off with the Drive-ins because more than one CT member has mentioned Me not putting the Address on.Sometimes,some of old theatre managers and doormen will start rapping about the old days of the theatre business I think that personal stories on the business is more important than architects.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Hi Chuck. I agree with you 100% about Lost. I believe it may have been my post on the Sunrise Drive In page that noted how Lost’s post above on November 25, 2009, appeared to be his last, and that he seemed to have left in an angry manner. I never intended to suggest that the comment above encapsulated the sole reason for his departure. Clearly, he was fed up and frustrated. I’ve been away from CT for a while, though not because I’ve been deliberately avoiding it, and now that I’m back, I’m saddened that Lost is no longer posting. I hope that he will have a change of heart some day.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Thanks, Chuck. Was also surprised to see Warren G Harris had stopped posting (which also saddened me somewhat, despite my frequent frustration with some of the agitation he caused here)… but, as AlAlvarez suggested to me elsewhere, seems that Warren may still be contributing under a new nom de plume (or nom de keyboard?).

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on April 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Here it is 2011 and nothing has been done. The drive in could have remained open, at least that would have been better than the weeds.
The drive in was supposed to be replaced with a housing development and probably another blooming shopping center. During one of the Columbia Drive In operating periods it showed only adult films. I cannot remember whether it was over 18 or over 21. During that time the state built the Route 30 bypass behind the theatre. Cars used to park on the shoulder of the bypass to watch the movie. (Who needs sound for an adult film.) The state wanted the drive in owner to install a wall to block the view of the screen from the bypass.

The state also put up no parking signs along that portion of the
road. During the time of the adult presentations I believe the
same person owned the State Theatre in Columbia and that was used
for adult films as well. Just a little bit of trivia.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Thanks Chuck,should have known there was more to the story,just came across it about why he left, and i wondered what had happen to Lost.

Patsy
Patsy on April 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Yes, Lost Memory is very much missed as he was one of the best CT members and I do feel his reasons for leaving were well warranted though I wish he had decided to remain a member with his wonderful contributions. Having written this about Lost Memory I don’t intend to write about it here again as these comments should be left to personal email and not taking up space on the subject of this drive-in.

Megsmith2006
Megsmith2006 on February 25, 2012 at 3:21 am

I realize there hasn’t been an update about this DI in a while, but I’m confused. According to CT, this DI has been demolished, but the property is still for sale and the buildings still standing according to this website: http://www.showcase.com/property/4061-Columbia-Avenue/Columbia/Pennsylvania/681571 I don’t quite live close enough to Columbia to justify driving out to see for myself. Does anyone know it’s current state?

John Simmers
John Simmers on February 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Nothing exists of this drive-in. If you didn’t know where it was you would never know it had been there. Street-side marquee, screen, concession and projection building were all demolished years ago. The entrance and exit roads are mostly grown over, and the land is a grass-covered expanse that an adjacent dairy farmer uses for grazing. The land is for sale, however. The sign went up fairly recently. Apparently the landowner’s plan to building a shopping center there didn’t pan out, so ultimately this little gem was demolished for nothing. That’s really a shame, because the last owners of the drive-in did a great job of renovating and running it, and it was packed every night. Reportedly they had the opportunity to buy the land but had come off a rainy season and were short on cash and had to take a pass.

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