Lima Drive-In

3685 S. Dixie Highway,
Fort Shawnee, OH 45806

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Lima Drive-In

The Lima Drive-In was the first drive-in theatre to open in Lima, OH (today the location is in Fort Shawnee). It opened on May 1, 1942, featuring the 1941 comedy “Great Guns” with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. It had a 300 car capacity with a 33 ft. x 21 ft. screen tower. The first sound system was blast speakers mounted on the screen tower and speakers located around the parking ramp. The first concession stand at the drive-in was set up with service windows on both sides to service the theatre and the passers-by on South Dixie Highway. The drive-in was opened by Horace and Eunice Shock. Shock would later open the Sharon Drive-In and Gloria Drive-In theatres in Lima also. Shock also had interests in other drive-in theatres in Marion and Van Wert, Ohio and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Co-Operative Theatres of Ohio was the booking and buying agency for all of Shock theatres.

In August of 1942, a lawsuit was filed by the residents living around the drive-in. They claimed that the noise of the motion picture sound equipment was a nuisance to them, disturbed their rest and enjoyment of their homes. Shock made and installed his own in-a-car speakers, so the lawsuit was dropped, but the speakers still did not work very well. In 1948 Shock and Thomas Campbell, a former RCA engineer, developed a new in-a-car speaker and started the Lima Speaker Inc., to manufacture the speakers. The new speakers were installed at the Lima Drive-In for the beginning of the 1948 movie season. Shock wanted to devote more time to his real estate business, developing shopping centers and residential housing. In November of 1954, Shock signed a ten year lease for the operation of the Lima, Sharon and Gloria Drive-Ins to Sam and Nate Schultz’s Selected Theatres Inc. from Cleveland, Ohio.

Selected Theatres operated the Lima Drive-In until it closed. Horace Shock passed away on May 2, 1975. Eunice Shock continued operating Shock Enterprises. With the changes in people, culture and the times, the Lima Drive-In was closed and the Gloria Drive-In and Sharon Drive-In remained open. The Lima Drive-In Theatre was the first to open 1942 and the first to close in 1977. The drive-in was demolished and to this day the property is still pretty much undeveloped and for sale. You can still see where the foundation for the concession stand, the foundation for the screen tower and it still has the pole for the moonbeams in the back of the lot. A section in the back of the lot was sold for a doctor’s office, along with their own drive-in theatre moonbeam light pole.

Contributed by Randy Studer

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on July 6, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Uploaded a picture of a drive-in speaker from the Lima Speaker Co.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on January 16, 2019 at 4:54 am

W. Breese Road & S. Dixie Highway, Lima, OH 45801 is the correct address for the Lima Drive-In!!

jwmovies
jwmovies on April 15, 2019 at 11:01 pm

A more accurate address for this theater is now 3685 S Dixie Hwy, Fort Shawnee, OH 45806. This points directly to the entrance road. This property is no longer Lima.

Please update.

Also to the last poster: Please read the community guidelines especially point #2. I’m revising what I previous posted to more accurately pinpoint the actual theater address. Especially when both the entrance and exit roads are still visible and field itself is still visible. The goal is to educate coming from personal experience with drive in (former manager). Just a thought.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on April 16, 2019 at 5:13 am

2 reads “Please try to be as informative as possible when posting a comment.”

W. Breese Rd & S. Dixie Hwy is the same address that jwmovies posted and it points to that intersection.

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