Twin City Drive In

1615 S. Gold Street,
Centralia, WA 98531

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Crane lifting sign

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Located on the 1600 block of S. Gold Street. The Twin City Drive-In was opened prior to 1953, when it was operated by Robert S. Clark of Saffle Theatre Services, Seattle.

Contributed by Edward E

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

KenLayton
KenLayton on October 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm

The only remnants of the theater today is the asphalt driveway entrance and many of the original trees are still standing. The property is now owned by the Western Washington Fairgrounds and is used for storage. The front entryway of the theater now has a barbed wire fence stretched across it. The entire theater marquee and readerboard have been completely removed.

Mmandarano
Mmandarano on October 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Thanks for all the pics for this theater, Ken! Was it still operational in 1993 or already closed at this point?

KenLayton
KenLayton on October 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm

In 1993 it was already closed, but a man by the name of James Jack was starting to clean things up and had plans to reopen it. Unfortunately, I heard that he had suddenly passed away and the theater would never reopen. There were a couple of brothers who had opened the theater in 1984 and 1985 seasons, but they didn’t know how to operate a drive-in theater and it closed. One of their biggest problems was sound system failures. They had no radio sound at all and were running the sound through the traditional in-car window speakers on both screens. Instead of simply repairing the existing RCA drive-in theater tube amplifier (which was designed for this theater anyway), they bought like five or six Bogen transistorized amplifiers and used those to feed sound to the speakers. That turned out to be a big mistake because the line transients in the field wiring played havoc with the output transistors in the Bogen amplifiers. Seems like every couple of weeks several of the amplifiers were in the repair shop with blown output transistors. So the sound was pretty bad which drove away customers. If this theater would have been twinned properly (not hacked like it was) and that second screen had radio sound, this theater might still have been open in my opinion.

SteveSwanson
SteveSwanson on October 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Thanks to Ken and Jack O. from the Rodeo for telling me about the Twin City. My first stop was in 2000, relatively still intact. After the marquee was removed in ‘02, I stopped my visits because I would see transients hanging around the box office, which eventually burned down. By 2005, the county decided to raze the property and fence off the perimeter. You can still see some of the pavement for the main entrance and exit lane coming out of field one.

Jay Harvey
Jay Harvey on October 3, 2013 at 7:35 pm

really nice pictures! thanks for sharing!!

KenLayton
KenLayton on October 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Around 1995, James Jack started painting the outside of the building in yellow color to doll up the place and hide the graffiti. You can see some of the yellow painted portions of the building in some of the pictures. The paint that was on the building in the late 70’s and in the 1980’s was a light green.

KenLayton
KenLayton on October 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Arthur Allen’s “Drive In Theaters of Western Washington” website had tons of drive in theater pictures. Unfortunately, it was hosted on GeoCities and disappeared several years ago. A mirror of it is here with some additional pictures of the Twin City Drive-In theater:

http://www.oocities.org/hollywood/Pavillion/2216/TwinCity.html

Granted, not all of the pictures got archived, but lots of information is still there.

tsaffle
tsaffle on April 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm

My family owned this great Drive-in during the 70’s. On the weekends we would stay the night at a motel and work the different shifts available. My Mom, sisters, and grandmother made and sold food. My brother and I would walk the grounds with walk talkies looking for people sneaking in. Dad was stuck with the paperwork. I used to collect all of the expired movie posters and still have most of them which I love!

Great memories of a tradition lost.

tsaffle
tsaffle on April 21, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I actually was able to locate the marquee through a gentleman named Duke Roorda (I think) and had arranged to recover it from him. In-time I lost his contact info, but if anyone knows of his whereabouts let me know!!!!

KenLayton
KenLayton on April 21, 2014 at 6:25 pm

I have Duke Rorda’s phone numbers. Email me at

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