Starlite Drive-In

2523 East Club Boulevard,
Durham, NC 27704

300 cars

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Starlite Drive-In concessions menu, interior

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The Starlite Drive-In was the last of the giant dinosaur of drive-in theatres in the greater Triangle area that showed a variety of films while holding area flea market sales every weekend. The drive-in theatre opened in the mid-1940’s and operated until March 2007, when it closed after the death of the Starlite’s owner, Bob Groves.

Contributed by raymond

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 19, 2009 at 5:25 am

yeah, I guess you are right,Lots of shopping centers around here now occupy Drive in land.However,Most the shopping centers built on these old Drive in spots today sit empty and falling apart,much like the Drive ins they replaced. Most were built in the 70’s and outdated compared to the new stripmalls. Thanks for the info on the Barnwell Drive ins.

raysson on December 23, 2009 at 4:34 am

From the previous comment:
“Lots of shopping centers around here now occupy Drive-In land. However,most of the shopping centers were built on these old drive-in spots today sit empty and falling apart,much like the drive-in’s they replaced”.

For one,here in Durham,the Starlite Drive-In Theatre off Club Blvd.
was built during the mid-1940’s and was one of the most popular drive-in theatres in town. It was second to another cherish Durham drive-in landmark,the Carolina-Duke drive-in(Off Chapel Hill Blvd.),and the Forest Drive-In(off Wake Forest Highway),and the Midway Drive-In(off Hillsborough Road between US 70 and I-85). By the late 1970’s through the early 1990’s,the Starlite survived thanks due to a reopening that occured during the late 1990’s and remained that way until its closing in 2007,under new management.
When they built that Super Wal-Mart where the entrance was,it marked the end of era in Durham. The Starlite was the last of the dinosaur drive-in theatres that were in operation throughout the surrounding Triangle area. The same can be said,about the South Square area,which opened in 1975 as one of the largest indoor shopping centers in Durham. All that change when Southpoint opened in 2002,and South Square was demolished,change the landscape of an area of land which was at one time,part of a drive-in theatre during the 1950’s(The Hope Valley Drive-In,which is not listed on the Cinema Treasures site)before it was erected into a huge shopping mall. Nowadays,the area once known as South Square is now a huge strip mall stretching from Shannon Road all the way to Westgate Drive and University Drive(which is anchored by a Super Target and a Sam’s Club Warehouse).

jrwoman10 on August 1, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I’m 48 yrs old now but I remember when I was a teenager around 16 or so, going to Drive in movies in Wilson, NC & there was also one on Capital Blvd in Raleigh, & of course the Starlight Drive in Durham. Now there aren’t any Drive In’s in the Triange area! What a shame! Everything has become so commercial & controlled. Maybe someone will become adventurous & an outward thinker & open a new drive in movie for the Durham/Raleigh area. That person would surely become rich because I for one, would go! Especially if there’s good hot food & reasonable prices like the Starlight use to have!

rdelius on September 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm

The Wall Mart is one block north.The Starlite’s screen is gone but the projection booth-concession stand is still there. A flea market opened 4-2011

raysson on February 27, 2012 at 6:33 pm

SHOWGIRLS played here at this drive-in theatre in early 1996. It was the only theatre that show it due to its controversial and graphically sexual content due to its “NC-17” rating.

raysson on August 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm

This drive-in theatre was a victim to WAL-MART.

NightHawk1 on October 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm

In its last years the Starlite Drive-in also operated as a video-rental club and a gun shop; VHS videotapes and firearms were displayed in the concession building.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on August 11, 2013 at 11:20 pm

It could be reopened again….You could show movies and still have the flea market.

Kris4077 on September 26, 2013 at 1:01 am

Everything I have looked at shows this D-I still there minus its screen and ticket booth. Walmart is further north.

raysson on June 8, 2015 at 10:49 pm

Drive-In 54, Kris4077, and jrwoman 10: The ONLY outdoor drive-in still in operation in the Triangle is in Henderson at the Raleigh Road Drive-In. Sad but true if you want to drive that far to see a movie at bargain prices.

And the sadder part is that section of North Durham is a wasteland. Nothing.

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