Elm Lane Auto Theatre
788 S. 2nd Street,
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The last drive-in theatre to open in Coshocton, OH. was the Elm Lane Auto Theatre. It opened on May 28, 1955, screening the 1954 comedy/drama “Her Twelve Men” with Greer Garson, Robert Ryan & Barry Sullivan. The second feature was the 1954 western “Four Guns to the Border” with Rory Calhoun, Colleen Miller, George Nader & Walter Brennan. It was opened by George Manos & W.E. Gross(manager) dba Manos Theatres from Toronto, OH. Mano Theatres were operating the Star-Lite Drive-In in Newcomerstown, OH. and the Midway Drive-In, East Palestine, OH. at this time along with the Ritz Theatre in Coshocton. The new auto theatre was going to be called ‘The Town Drive-In’ but in January 1955, before the drive-in was opened, a contest was held to name the new drive-in. They received 494 names that were submitted and Kenneth McCullough submitted the winning name. The name of ‘Elm Lane’ was chosen because of the row of Elm trees that were planted along River Road as a memorial to the World War I dead from Coshocton, OH.
The car capacity was 500 cars with in-a-car speakers and a heated patio with 120 seats for walk-in patrons. The CinemaScope screen tower was 100ft x 60ft in size. The cost in building the new auto theatre was around $150,000. In 1958, the Elm Lane Auto Theatre and the Star-Lite Drive-In were operated by Herbert H. Horstemeier, dba H.H.H. Enterprises of Cleveland, OH. In 1971 the Elm Lane Auto Theatre reopened under a new manager, Harry Wilson frome Zanesville, OH. The Elm Lane Auto Theatre had planned to open for the 1972 season. They advertised for a new manager in June of 1972 in the newspaper. Robert C. Manos advertised in August of 1972 for demolition contracts to demolish the Elm Lane Auto Theatre, and thus ended its life.
A few people that I talked to about the Elm Lane Auto Theatre said it was a nice auto theatre. In researching the Elm Lane Auto Theatre, the George Manos chain of theatres from Toronto, OH. had legal and financial problems going all the way back to the 1940’s. That was the downfall of the Elm Lane Auto Theatre. It would have been a very profitable theatre with good management if it was still open today. Most of the Elm Lane Auto Theatre site is today just an empty field.
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