Sinking Spring Drive-In

4870 Penn Avenue,
Sinking Spring, PA 19608

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Sinking Spring Drive-In

Opened on August 1, 1955 with Robert Taylor in “Many Rivers to Cross” & Ronald Reagan in “Prisoners of War”. Soon after opening it was sold to Fox Theatres of Reading, PA (which also operated the Reading Drive-In and the Mt. Penn Drive-In).

Fox operated the Sinking Spring Drive-In until the sometime in the 1980’s when it was shut down. With a renewed interest in drive-in theatres' Fox reopened the Sinking Spring Drive-In around Memorial Day in May 1990 with “Back To The Future III” and it was then operated until 1996 when it was sold for a strip mall shopping center.

The Sinking Spring Drive-In was a first class operation with a 60 foot high by 120 foot wide screen on an elevated grassy knoll. Located on the south side of Route 422 traffic driving eastbound on Route 422 from Wernersville could see the screen for nearly a half a mile away.

The original screen tower was enclosed with some sort of masonite that covered the screen. Eventually the masonite on the tower disintegrated and the inside of the tower became a large pidgeon coop filed with pidgeon droppings. The screen tower was redone in the late-1960’s and learning for the mistake it was not enclosed.

There was a patio between the projection room and the concession stand where there were dances, contests and outdoor seating for the movies. The projection room featured Century projectors with magnetic sound heads.

The whole Central Pennsylvania midstate area has a lots of underground limestone and many areas suffer from recurring large sinkholes and underground springs. Thus the name Sinking Spring. The Sinking Spring Drive-In suffered as a result of this condition because a few years after the theatre opened a large sinkhole developed in the right rear edge corner of the lot (as you would face the screen) which completely swallowed the 40 foot right corner light pole which had been designed to illuminate the right exitway. This light pole vanished and was never seen again.

Contributed by Jonathan M. Crist

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

muviebuf on February 20, 2016 at 10:41 am

Link to opening day article:,347786&hl=en

MichaelKilgore on August 25, 2019 at 1:50 pm

The obituary for Richard “Dick” Fox in the Reading Eagle implied that the Fox Theatres chain started with the Sinking Spring in 1957. “It was fate that brought Dick to Reading, where he built one of the largest independent movie theater empires and raised a family. Dick was living in Buffalo, N.Y., and drove a delivery truck for his father-in-law, Leo Katz, who had concession and drive-in movie theater businesses. In 1957, Dick jumped at the opportunity to run the Sinking Spring Drive-In.”

davidcoppock on August 25, 2019 at 3:28 pm

Opened on 3/8/1955 with some colour cartoons(not named), “Many rivers to cross” and “prisoners of war”.

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